President Carter, Justin Timberlake Honor Trisha Yearwood

2015 ASCAP Country Music Awards Arrivals
Sanford Myers/Invision/AP

One of country music's leading ladies, Trisha Yearwood, was honored as the voice of a generation of music fans Monday night by former President Jimmy Carter and pop star and actor Justin Timberlake.

Her fellow country stars, including Lady Antebellum and Reba McEntire, surprised the Georgia-born singer with performances of her songs, including "Walkaway Joe," and "She's In Love With the Boy," during the 53rd annual ASCAP Country Music Awards on Monday in Nashville, Tennessee.

"Since her debut in the early '90s, Trisha Yearwood has given young women a voice through song, with powerful lyrics about love, loss and staying true to your own self," Timberlake said.

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Yearwood was given the Voice of Music Award, while Ashley Gorley was named the songwriter of the year and Sam Hunt was named songwriter-artist of the year by the music licensing agency. Hunt also received the award for song of the year for "Leave the Night On," written by Hunt and Josh Osborne.

The Grammy-winning artist has sold more than 12 million albums and is also a successful cooking show host and cook book author, Timberlake noted, adding, "Girlfriend is busy."

Yearwood and her husband, Garth Brooks, joined Carter earlier in the week in Memphis, Tennessee, to help build a home as a part of the charity Habitat for Humanity.

Carter, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, received a standing ovation from the crowd of songwriters, singers and music industry executives.

He said he was an admirer of Yearwood's work for a long time, but in the past decade has been working with her and Brooks to support the charity, which has helped 5 million people with home construction and repairs.

"Trisha is a very good worker," Carter told the crowd. "She's actually one of the best Habitat for Humanity volunteers that I have ever seen. She's always on top of scaffolding and the roof trusses almost like an acrobat."

Yearwood proudly showed off an example of her hard work while on the red carpet prior to the show.

"I have a blister," Yearwood said. "I don't want anybody to go, 'She's a singer, she's not going to work.' I think I work harder than I should because I don't want anybody to think I am slacking."

Yearwood said that she's not known as a songwriter, so she was especially proud to get recognized by songwriters in Music City.

"The highest compliment I can receive is when I can record a song and the writer is happy with my rendition," Yearwood said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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