Monty PowellMonty Powell, writer of such huge country hits as Keith Urban's 'Kiss a Girl' and Diamond Rio's 'Norma Jean Riley,' is the 2009 SESAC Songwriter of the Year. He also stakes claim to the SESAC Song of the Year, for his co-write on another big Keith Urban hit, 'Sweet Thing.'

Monty received the honor on Monday at a party packed with his peers, SESAC's annual awards dinner. The black tie event was held in lavishly decorated tents outside the performance rights company's Music Row offices on an unusually warm November evening in Nashville.

Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott was another big winner of the night, taking home plaques for co-writing the trio's big hits 'I Run to You,' 'Love Don't Live Here' and 'Lookin' for a Good Time.' Other honorees included Bob Dylan, Anthony Smith, Liz Rose and Peter Cooper. (Read the full list of SESAC award winners here.)

Joe Nichols and Nanci Griffith were the night's entertainers, with Joe singing his very personal new ballad, 'An Old Friend of Mine.' Nanci closed the night with her hit, 'Across America,' accompanied by her co-writers on the song, Charley Stefl and Thomm Jutz.