The SESAC Awards kicked off a number of award shows in downtown Nashville leading up to the CMA Awards on Wednesday. 

The annual awards ceremony held at the Country Music Hall of Fame honored Songwriter of the Year, Publisher of the Year and Song of the Year as well as top performance songwriters from both Country and Americana.

The ceremony started with a chilling performance by Jamey Johnson and John Carter Cash of “Spirit Rider (Johnny Cash: Forever Words).”

It was an extra special day for Jamey who served our country before chasing his country career.

Several veterans were also in the crowd as Lee Brice performed a tribute in their honor. 

On the red carpet, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum talked about what a special place veterans day holds in her heart. 

“Veterans day holds a very dear place in my heart for a couple of reasons, one to say thank you to everybody who has served or actively serving in our military, but its also the anniversary of losing my grandfather and he was in the guard. He never served in active duty, but he was the most patriotic person I know and so the fact that he got his angel wings on Veterans Day and we get to truly celebrate and say thank you, I just really don’t take that lightly and so to be able to celebrate him tonight and also the Veterans is just really, really important, very special,” Hillary said. 

Hillary was also honored at the SESAC Awards for her songwriting on “Heart Break.” Lady A is also up for Vocal Group at the CMA Awards. 

Matt McGinn took home the big SESAC awards for Songwriter and Song of the Year for “Heaven” recorded by Kane Brown.

Performance rights organizations; ASCAP and BMI will have ceremonies over the next 2 nights before the CMA Awards Wednesday night. 

News 2 has you covered for the CMA Awards

  • At 5 p.m. we kick things off from the Red Carpet. Log onto WKRN.COM to watch Neil Orne and Nikki Burdine talk to the stars. 
  • At 6:30 p.m. the Red Carpet show continues live on News 2. 
  • 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. catch the CMA Awards show, filled with music, celebrities, surprises.
  • 10:00 p.m. News 2 
  • 10:35 p.m. Cherish Lombard takes us inside the CMA After Party