Alan JacksonAlan Jackson was honored Monday night with an award he himself inspired, ASCAP's Songwriter/Artist of the Year. This is Alan's third time to receive the honor. He was a three-time Songwriter of the Year winner prior to the Songwriter/Artist category's creation, and just wasn't comfortable with taking that award from a songwriter who's not also a recording artist. So he approached ASCAP about separating the categories into Songwriter/Artist and Songwriter, and the organization happily obliged.

"I asked Connie [Bradley, ASCAP's Sr. Vice President] to start this category a long time ago, and I was just telling my wife that after 20 years now of still winning this thing, they ought to make another category for Songwriter/Artist over 50," Alan joked upon accepting his award. "I'm starting to feel like Brooks and Dunn at the CMA Duo category!"

ASCAP's Songwriter of the Year award went to Ashley Gorley, for writing Brad Paisley and Keith Urban's duet, 'Start a Band,' and the ASCAP Song of the Year, Trace Adkins' 'You're Gonna Miss This.'

"My dad gave me great advice: Find something that you love to do, and then figure out a way to make money out of it ... It worked out, so I thank you for that and for not calling me crazy," Ashley said, addressing his family in the audience.

The ASCAP Golden Note award, the night's equivalent of a lifetime achievement honor, was presented to J.D. Souther. Nicknamed the "Sixth Eagle," J.D. co-wrote several of the Eagles' most beloved hits, including 'Best of My Love,' 'Heartache Tonight,' 'New Kid in Town' and 'How Long.' He also wrote the Linda Ronstadt classics 'Prisoner in Disguise,' 'Faithless Love,' 'Silver Blue' and many more, in addition to having his own successful solo career. J.D. was presented the Golden Note by his longtime friend and fellow songwriting legend Jackson Browne, while Lee Ann Womack, Rodney Crowell, Sarah Buxton and Love and Theft provided musical tributes, singing some of J.D.'s biggest hits.

The ASCAP Awards ceremony, held at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, was co-hosted by Connie Bradley and ASCAP President Paul Williams (writer of such beloved hits as 'The Rainbow Connection,' 'Rainy Days and Mondays' and 'We've Only Just Begun'). See a full list of 2009 ASCAP honorees here.