Ashley Gorley named Songwriter of the Year

Blake, Kelsea, FGL also win top awards

(L-R): MusicRow Publisher/Owner Sherod Robertson, Ashley Gorley and MusicRow Chart Director Alex Kobrick. Photo: Preshias Harris

Ashley Gorley has received yet another honor. At the MusicRow Magazine’s 16th annual Country Breakout Awards, Gorley received the Songwriter of the Year Award.  The award goes annually to the songwriter with “the most songs that commanded country radio in … secondary markets,” according to MusicRow Publisher and Owner, Sherod Robertson. It was Gorley’s second consecutive win.

The Awards ceremony was part of MusicRow’s annual ‘Country Radio Meet & Greet’ held at the Listening Room Café in Nashville. As before, it was held during the first day of the Country Radio Seminar (CRS).  Although it is not part of the official CRS program, the event always attracts large numbers of radio air personalities and program directors, as well as members of Nashville’s music community.

Seven Number Ones in 2017

Ashley Gorley. Photo: Tape Room Music

Gorley was honored for the remarkable achievement of co-writing seven Number Ones on the 2017 MusicRow charts. Among those songs: Blake Shelton’s “A Guy With a Girl” that was Gorley’s 30th Number One as a writer.

Gorley’s other MusicRow Number Ones for 2017: Thomas Rhett’s “Unforgettable,” Jon Pardi’s “Dirt On My Boots,” Dierks Bentley’s “Black,” Chris Janson’s “Fix A Drink,” Brad Paisley’s “Today” and Billy Currington’s “Do I Make You Wanna.”  Gorley is also the only songwriter to have received the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Award five times, a record that he set in 2017.

A native of Danville, Kentucky, in 2011 Gorley partnered with Combustion Music and Warner/Chappell Music to start up Tape Room Music, his own music publishing company.

Blake, Kelsea Artists of the Year

Blake Shelton. Photo: MusicRow

At the Country Breakout Awards, Blake Shelton earned the Male Artist of the Year Award for more spins than any other male artist on the MusicRow Country Breakout Chart, achieving 83,208 spins reported by stations on MusicRow’s panel. His spin total included three No. 1 hits on the Country Breakout chart: “I’ll Name The Dogs,” “A Guy With A Girl” and “Every Time I Hear That Song.”

Kelsea Ballerini. Photo: Sara Barlow/MusicRow

Kelsea Ballerini was recognized as Female Artist of the Year with 80,928 reported spins. Kelsea had two No. 1s on the MusicRow Country Breakout chart with “Legends” and “Yeah Boy.” This was Kelsea’s second consecutive win in this category.

FGL nab 4th win; Combs, Owens honored

Florida Georgia Line

The Group/Duo of the Year Award went to Florida Georgia Line for the fourth consecutive year with 76,938 spins in 2017. FGL’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard topped MusicRow’s chart with “Smooth” and also with “God, Your Mama and Me,” a collaboration with Backstreet Boys.

Luke Combs. Photo: Louis Brown

Luke Combs received the Breakout Artist of the Year Award. Combs’ songs, including the Platinum-certified hit “Hurricane,” racked up 78,978 spins on reporting stations. His debut album, ‘This One’s For You,’ has already been certified Gold by RIAA.

Shane Owens

Shane Owens took home the Independent Artist of the Year Award, gaining more spins than any other indie artist in 2017 with a total of 33,428 spins. Owens’ songs, including “19” helped him lead the pack of independent artists.

Capitol Records Nashville locked in an unassailable 14th win as MusicRow’s Label of the Year. The UMG imprint scored 457,962 spins in 2017 with airplay from artists such as Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood.

The annual MusicRow Country Breakout Awards go to artists, songwriters and labels that have achieved the most spins as reported by secondary market radio stations that report to the MusicRow Country Breakout chart.

Full details and more can be found in the February/March issue of MusicRow magazine and online at musicrow.com.

It’s a bloomin’ boom in babies for country music moms and dads to be

‘Country’ babies on the way

Something in the water? Something in the air? Whatever it is, there will soon be several additions to the families of country artists in Music City. Baby bottles and diapers are in the future for these folks:

Photo: Cameron Powell

Dylan Scott had a chart-topper with “My Girl” but the Curb Records artist and his wife Blair are expecting their first child and nope, it won’t be a girl. The couple held a ‘reveal’ party, pulling poppers that showered out blue confetti. So the new addition will be … a boy!

 

Photo: People Magazine

Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and wife Hayley announced that they, too, have Baby Number One on the way. The baby – a boy – is due in December. Hayley told People magazine that it’s something they’ve been looking forward to for a while, but “It’s all about God’s timing.”

 

Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty

Brantley and Amber Gilbert will also be shopping for baby clothes.  They are expecting their happy event in November.  Again, People magazine made the announcement (back in May) about the Gilberts’ good news after almost two years of trying.

 

 

Photo: Getty

Jason Aldean and wife of two years Brittany Kerr also found the path to parenthood threw them a few curves along the way. But former American Idol contestant Brittany took to social media to post: “Surprise! We are pregnant!” It’s blue bootees for the newest Aldean as the couple announce their first child will be a boy.

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty

Chris Lucas – one half of the duo LOCASH – and his wife Kaitlyn are expecting their third child – a girl – in September.  The new baby will join six-year-old brother Caden and one-year-old sister Remi. Lucas told Nash Country Daily, “I think I’m done after that. My wife is done for sure!”

 

Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty/BMI

Meanwhile, Lady Antebellum is staging a one-band baby boom of their own. Hillary Scott and husband Chris Tyrrell are expecting baby number two in February next year.

 

 

Photo: Getty

And Lady A’s Dave Haywood and wife Kelli will welcome their second child (a girl) in December.  So, congrats and best wishes to all those proud parents to be and their babies.

Cole Swindell’s long road to success

Three ‘Number One’ parties in one day

three Number One parties in one day for Cole Swindell
three Number One parties in one day for Cole Swindell

Celebrating a Number One song is a big moment in any songwriter’s life, particularly if you also happen to be the artist who recorded it. How about THREE Number Ones, celebrated at three different parties on the same day?

That’s what happened to Cole Swindell on Monday, September 12. The three party ‘pub crawl’ started off at South on Nashville’s Demonbreun Street, where ASCAP and BMI got together to honor Cole Swindell, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley (all BMI writers) and Michael Carter (ASCAP) for co-writing “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight.”

At the party, Swindell revealed that the idea for the song title came from a

Pictured (L-R): BMI’s David Preston, manager Kerri Edwards, Big Loud Mountain’s Craig Wiseman, Round Hill’s Penny Gattis, songwriter and producer Michael Carter, ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, BMI artist Cole Swindell, Sony/ATV Tree Publishing’s Terry Wakefield and Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito. Photo: Steve Lowry.
Pictured (L-R): BMI’s David Preston, manager Kerri Edwards, Big Loud Mountain’s Craig Wiseman, Round Hill’s Penny Gattis, songwriter and producer Michael Carter, ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, BMI artist Cole Swindell, Sony/ATV Tree Publishing’s Terry Wakefield and Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito. Photo: Steve Lowry.

text he received, maybe from an old flame, that said, “Hope you get lonely tonight.” He was getting ready to go on stage and showed the text to Luke Bryan’s guitarist Michael Carter. They agreed that it sounded like a great song title, and together with Florida Georgia Line’s Hubbard and Kelley, they developed the idea and the song came together quickly. They made a ‘work tape’ and played it for anyone who’d listen… all of whom agreed it sounded like a hit. They were right.

The party then moved next door to Dawg House to recognize Swindell along with Josh Martin (SESAC) and Adam Sanders (ASCAP), the writers of the Number One hit “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey.” Finally, the third party took place just down the street at the Tin Roof, honoring Swindell, Michael Carter and Jody Stevens (BMI) who wrote “Let Me See Ya Girl,” another Number One single from Swindell’s self-titled album (Warner Bros. Nashville). All three Number Ones were produced by Michael Carter.

As icing on the cake, Swindell was presented with an RIAA-certified Platinum disc for his self-titled album, only the second Platinum certification so far in 2016. All in all, a pretty memorable day for Mr. Swindell.

‘Write your way to a record deal’

If anyone is the poster-child for ‘write your way to a record deal,’ it’s Cole Swindell. First and foremost, he sees himself as a songwriter. And he has certainly paid his dues with eyes always on the prize of his own recording contract. After leaving college in 2007, he moved to Nashville and got a job selling merchandise on the road for three years for his friend Luke Bryan, constantly songwriting, honing his craft.

It paid off in 2010 when he signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. He started racking up writing (and co-writing) credits with cuts such as Craig Campbell’s “Outta My Head,” Thomas Rhett’s “Get Me Some of That,” FGL’s “This Is How We Roll” and numerous songs recorded by Luke Bryan including “Roller Coaster,” “In Love With The Girl,” “Beer in the Headlights,” as well as Scotty McCreery’s “Water Tower Town” and many others. He became known as a songwriter who could consistently deliver.

Cole Swindell, in his distinctive Georgia Southern baseball cap
Cole Swindell, in his distinctive Georgia Southern baseball cap

In 2013, Swindell recorded a single of “Chillin’ It” and released it independently. He got the single to SiriusXM’s “The Highway” channel and began to get airplay, and that – along with his proven track record as a writer – brought him to the attention of Warner Music Nashville who signed him to a record deal. . With Warner’s boost, “Chillin’ It” made it to Number One on Billboard’s Hot Country chart.

It was no “overnight success” for Swindell. It virtually never is, for anybody. He found a way to start out “in the business,” selling merch for his college frat brother, Luke Bryan, then writing songs at every opportunity, co-writing with others, developing his skills, building his network, learning his way around the music business. It was a steady, progressive journey – almost ten years – that took him from selling tour tee shirts to celebrating three Number One hits and receiving a Platinum album on a single day.

Cole’s inspiring story

If you are an aspiring artist and it seems “like forever” that you’ve been plugging away, writing songs and looking for the big break, take heart from Cole Swindell’s story. If you have friends and family members suggesting “you’ve been in Nashville for a year and you still don’t have a record deal,” tell them about Swindell and how you are following his example, dedicating yourself to developing your writing skills and proving to record labels that you have the potential to be a ‘product’ worthy of their investment, possibly of millions of their dollars.

It takes time to achieve success. The most brilliant and successful brain surgeon started off as an anonymous intern in a hospital. Major League baseball players work their way up to ‘The Big Show’ by developing their abilities playing at A, AA and AAA minor league clubs before getting called up. They know that success takes time because they have to develop their skills and prove their worth. The same applies to you in the music industry.

If you have a ‘Doubting Thomas’ in your family who thinks you should give up the dream, tell them the story of Cole Swindell’s long (but worthwhile) road to success. While you’re at it, tell it to yourself, too. Just as he did, visualize yourself holding your first Number One plaque!

More about Cole Swindell here.

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Writers awarded Kyser Capos

It's Kyser Capo time!
It’s Kyser Capo time!

All ASCAP songwriters receive a Kyser KG6K 6-String Guitar Capo on the occasion of their first Number One. Each custom-made Capo is gold-tone and inscribed #1 ASCAP. Pictured left to right at the Dawg House, celebrating the Number One hit, “Aint Worth The Whiskey:
Cole Swindell, Michael Carter, Adam Sanders and ASCAP Nashville’s Mike Sistad.

Photo Credit: Mike Harris.

 

3 songwriters honored for FGL hits

Cole Taylor, Matt Dragstrem and Felix McTeigue

Three songwriters jointly celebrated their first Number Ones during an afternoon party at ASCAP’s Nashville HQ on May 25, thanks to TWO chart toppers scored by Florida Georgia Line.

Matt Dragstrem and Cole Taylor were recognized for their co-write credits on the cut, “Sippin’ On Fire,” that topped the charts for FGL. Felix McTeigue also scored his first Number One with another FGL hit, “Anything Goes,” co-written with veteran writers Craig Wiseman and Christ Tompkins. The three writers received plaques from ASCAP and awards from the CMA and Country Radio Broadcasters (CRB). Dragstrem, Taylor and McTeigue also received ASCAP-signature guitars, presented by Boulder Creek Guitars, in recognition of their first Number One hits.

Congrats to all three. I know we’ll see you back in the ‘winners’ circle’ before too long!