With a star-studded line-up rivaling Broadway’s brightest neon lights, the 57th annual American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Country Music Awards celebrated the industry’s biggest names on Monday, November 11 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Nashville. The writers and publishers of country music’s most-performed songs of the past year were honored before an invitation-only audience of notable Nashville songwriters, top country artists and music industry leaders.
Hitmaker Ashley Gorley cemented his place among country music’s greats, taking home the ASCAP Country Music Songwriter of the Year Award for an extraordinary seventh time in his career for seven chart-topping songs (“Life Changes,” “Eyes on You,” “Love Ain’t,” “What Makes You Country,” “I Lived It,” “Rumor,” “Hide the Wine”). Continuing his record-setting streak, he remains the only ASCAP songwriter to achieve this feat in the country music genre. ASCAP Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Matthews presented Gorley with the award, and Gorley and country music stars Dierks Bentley and Jon Nite treated the crowd to a performance of their song “Living.”
In a surprise appearance, CMA Awards host Carrie Underwood performed a stunning rendition of “Promises” and Garth Brooks delivered a heartfelt performance of “Forever and Ever, Amen” in tribute to country icon and ASCAP Founders Award recipient Randy Travis. A Grand Ole Opry member and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, Travis’s devotion to classic country sounds took him to the pinnacle of country music fame. In recognition of Travis’s storied career, Brooks and Underwood joined ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams to present the revered artist with his award.
Acclaimed songwriter Hillary Lindsey received the ASCAP Global Impact Award in recognition of the enduring worldwide impact of her powerful and prolific repertoire. The two-time Grammy Award winner has penned songs recorded by Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Jon Bon Jovi, Florida Georgia Line, Kacey Musgraves, Luke Bryan and countless others. With 22 #1 hits, from Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” to Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons,” her compelling storytelling continues to captivate audiences. Special guest presenter Kelsea Ballerini and ASCAP Vice President of Nashville Membership Mike Sistad awarded Lindsey with the prestigious honor. In celebration of this career milestone, Little Big Town performed her Grammy-winning song “Girl Crush.” Previous ASCAP Global Impact Award Winners include Lana Del Rey and Jessi Alexander (for “The Climb”).
As previously announced, Brothers Osborne took home the ASCAP Vanguard Award for their fresh take on the modern country duo. The reigning CMA Vocal Duo of the Year just wrapped a set of tour dates with Chris Stapleton and released Live at The Ryman in October. Special guest presenters Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen (also an ASCAP member) added a touch of Hollywood to the festivities as they presented to the brothers.
After a chart-topping year that saw their latest album debut at #1 on Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart, Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey and Trevor Rosen were named ASCAP Country Music Songwriter-Artists of the Year. ASCAP EVP of Membership John Titta and 2018 honoree Brett Young presented the award to the pair for their collaboration on the hit songs “Hotel Key,” “One That Got Away” and “Make It Sweet.”
A well-known pop and R&B writer who has worked with major artists from Madonna to Justin Bieber, Steven Battey won ASCAP Country Music Song of the Year for his first country hit, Luke Combs’s “One Number Away.” Battey then took the stage to serenade the audience with a moving version of the #1 song.
ASCAP’s Matthews presented the ASCAP Country Music Publisher of the Year Award to Warner Chappell Music Nashville President and Chief Executive Officer Ben Vaughn and Chief Operating Officer Carianne Marshall. Earning the award for the seventh consecutive time, Warner Chappell Music published some of the most-performed ASCAP country songs of the past year including “Tequila,” “You Make It Easy” and “Hotel Key.”
Dan + Shay’s Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney and singer-songwriter Jordan Reynolds opened the show with a performance of their hit song “Tequila,” one of ASCAP’s top country songs of the year.
For a full list of 2019 ASCAP Country Music Awards Winners, visit: https://www.ascap.com/countryawards19.