ASCAP begins unveiling their 58th annual Country Music Awards recipients today, with Ashley Gorley and Old Dominion receiving two of its top honors. Carly Pearce and Brett Young were also recognized for two of the Most Performed Country Songs of 2019. The awards will be presented in a virtual format across all social media platforms using the hashtag #ASCAPAwards through Thursday November 12.
Gorley received the ASCAP Country Music Songwriter of the Year award for a record eighth time with seven Number One hits last year, including Brett Young’s “Catch,” written by Gorley, Young and Ross Copperman. Gorley is the only songwriter in any genre to claim the top spot that many times in the history of the Billboard and Mediabase airplay charts.
“I’m humbled, proud, and extremely grateful to be honored as the 2020 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year. It’s been an insane year, and this is a much-needed bright spot for me,” Gorley said.
In a chat with American Songwriter, Gorley noted the family vibes he felt from ASCAP, going back to his days as a student at Belmont. “ASCAP is where I learned early on that what I do as a songwriter is a gig. From then on, I knew I would be with ASCAP.”
“The crew at ASCAP- Michael Martin, Beth Brinker, Robert Filhart- believed in me before I had a record deal,” Brett Young told American Songwriter. “They treated me like I was a published writer even before I was a published writer. Their ability to see the talent beyond the paperwork and put their name behind a young kid trying to get started was a huge thing for me.”
“Catch,” honored as one of ASCAP’s Most Performed Country Songs of 2019, was written in the fall of 2016, and began when they were writing another song. Gorley walked out of the room and then came back in saying, “you just gave me another idea for a song.” The two booked time for another session, which then produced “Catch.” Interestingly, “Catch” is one of three one-word hit songs for Young, following “Mercy” and preceding his latest “Lady.”
“I like words that are vague enough in the title that you look at it and have no idea what it’s about, or you think you know what it’s going to about and we’ll make sure to not write it that way. I like titles that are not gimmies where you can guess what it is. We knew it could get cheesy and tongue in cheek really fast. If we were going to do a play on words, we made sure to be conscious of that
“Brett bring a lot to the table because he’s a true writer/artist,” Gorley added. “He’s a songwriter first so that makes the session more enjoyable and easier. We know when we’re going down the wrong road right away. My job is to help him get to where he wants to go.”
Old Dominion members Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen and Brad Tursi along with songwriter Josh Osborne received ASCAP Country Music Song of the Year honors for “One Man Band.” The four were presented with the honor in a surprise virtual visit from ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams featured on ASCAP social media today, as well as an exclusive performance of the song by the four winners.
“This song transcended country music. We touched on something universal with this song,” lead vocalis/guitarist Matt Ramsey told American Songwriter. “Our favorite compliment is when people tell us, ‘you know I’m not a country music fan, but this is my favorite song.’”
The band and Osbourne recalled the song’s origins began in the summer of 2018 while they were on tour with Kenny Chesney and about to go on stage. “We were supposed to be walking on stage. But the three of us were huddled around our phone trying to get the song idea down so we wouldn’t forget it. About a month later Josh came out on the road with us. We were in Denver at Mile High Stadium and we finished the song in the locker room. It was a pretty great day.”
“I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Carly Pearce’s duet with Lee Brice, also received recognition as one of ASCAP’s Most Performed Country Songs of 2019. Pearce spoke with American Songwriter, reflecting on how far she has come as a performer since her days performing in Dollywood. “You don’t realize when you’re in the middle of it all, that your dreams can happen. This is all I ever wanted to do.”
Pearce was one of our Daily Discovery’s back in 2012, listing her ambition ‘to become one of the leading ladies of country music.’ “Wow! I think about everything that’s changed in my world since then. Back then I was probably working retail. I was so green and unaware of how this all worked. I loved country music and knew I wanted to write real country music. And that hasn’t changed.”
Paul Williams will kick off the social media event with special remarks for the Nashville community on video. “So many of our greatest country songs deal with struggle, loss and heartbreak. But they also give us messages of hope, resilience, joy and the happiness we find in our everyday lives through our loved ones, friends and community. This past year the world needed your music more than ever. And you delivered the goods…Your songs lifted our spirits, brought meaning to our lives and inspired us to keep going.”
Warner Chappell Music earns the ASCAP Country Music Publisher of the Year Award for the eighth consecutive time for publishing some of the most-performed ASCAP country songs of the past year, including “One Man Band,” “10,000 Hours,” “After a Few,” “Raised on Country” and “God’s Country” among many others. Warner Chappell Music Nashville President Ben Vaughn, accepting the award on video from his car in front of ASCAP Nashville headquarters, said “We wanted to say thanks to ASCAP, thanks to Guy (Moot) and Carianne (Marshall) for all their support, thank you to our songwriters for being amazing and also our team wants to say thanks to everyone.” The video wraps up with a montage of ‘Thank You’s’ from 16 Warner Chappell Music team members.