ASCAP honored its top country songwriters and publishers at its annual awards gala Monday night (Oct. 17), held at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium. Kenny Chesney, Craig Wiseman, John Rich and EMI M

ASCAP honored its top country songwriters and publishers at its annual awards gala Monday night (Oct. 17), held at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium. Kenny Chesney, Craig Wiseman, John Rich and EMI Music Publishing were the evening's top honorees.

Wiseman netted the ASCAP songwriter of the year prize. The Tim McGraw hit "Live Like You Were Dying," which Wiseman co-wrote with Tim Nichols, was named song of the year. Wiseman was also recognized for penning "In A Real Love'," "Rough And Ready," "That's What It's All About" and "This Woman With You." The evening marked Wiseman's second ASCAP songwriter of the year win.

Rich, one half of the celebrated Warner Bros. duo Big & Rich, was named ASCAP songwriter/artist of the year. Rich's credits include the Big & Rich hits, "Holy Water" and "Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy," as well as Gretchen Wilson's "Here For The Party," "Redneck Woman," and "When I Think About Cheatin'."

An evening highlight was a video clip of Rich in a long brown wig imitating Wilson with a rendition of "Redneck Woman."

Wilson, along with Chris DuBois, Rory Lee Feek, Connie Harrington, Brett James, Kristyn Osborn, Brad Paisley, Monty Powell, Rivers Rutherford and John Shanks received multiple songwriting awards during the evening's festivities.

EMI Music Publishing nabbed its fifth consecutive country publisher honor. The publisher's stable of writers penned 13 songs that received ASCAP honors during the evening.

Chesney received the ASCAP Voice of Music Award. ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento, who co-hosted the event with ASCAP senior VP Connie Bradley, called Chesney "an artist who has the ability to captivate millions with songs that are honest, heartfelt and entertaining. He is a superstar, yes, but he is a songwriter first."

ASCAP senior VP and director of licensing Vincent Candilora presented ASCAP's Partner in Music Award to Tootsies Orchid Lounge, the famed Nashville honky tonk that has long been a fixture on the Music CIty scene. The honor recognizes "an ASCAP licensee who has shown exceptional dedication to promoting and expanding the reach of country music."

For a complete list of award recipients, see Billboard.com/awards.