Stars Come Out To Honor Hit Writers at Nashville Songwriter Awards

by Preshias Harris / 235 days ago / Comments
#

“Heart Like A Truck” awarded Song of the Year

Recording stars became the fans and the songwriters became the stars during the 6th annual Nashville Songwriter Awards.  The star-studded event was held September 26 at the Ryman Auditorium presented by the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) with presenting partner City National Bank.

The ‘Song of the Year’ Award went to Trannie Anderson, Dallas Wilson, and Lainey Wilson for “Heart Like A Truck” recorded by Wilson.  Scroll down for my ‘red carpet’ interview with Trannie and Dallas, as well as comments from Tim McGraw, Tracy Lawrence, Nicolle Galyon, Megan Moroney, Josiah & the Bonnevilles and more. “Truck” was one of “10 Songs I Wish I’d Written,” the popular annual peer-voted category.

Ashley Gorley may soon be shopping for a larger trophy cabinet as he was presented with the Songwriter of the Year Award for a record seventh time.  In celebration, Russell Dickerson sang “God Gave Me A Girl” and Cole Swindell performed “She Had Me At Heads Carolina,” two of Gorley’s hits from his award-winning year.

The emotional highlight of the evening had to be the honoring of iconic songwriter Bobby Braddock with the 2022 Kris Kristofferson Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to Braddock by Garth Brooks. Picking just some of Braddock’s hit compositions, Tracy Lawrence sang “Time Marches On,” Blake Shelton gave his rendition of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and Toby Keith sang “I Wanna Talk About Me.”

PHOTO: Songwriter and producer Bobby Braddock, NSAI's 2023 Kris Kristofferson Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, pictured with Tracy Lawrence, Blake Shelton, and Garth Brooks (2022 NSAI Kris Kristofferson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient). Photo credit: Jason Davis

Previously announced honorees, David Israelite (Chairman & CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association) and Tim McGraw, were both celebrated with special performances for their achievements - Brett Young performed a moving rendition of Israelite’s favorite song, “Hallelujah”, and hit-songwriter Lori McKenna took the stage to honor McGraw with a stunning acoustic performance of her own “Humble And Kind”, the chart-topping song recorded by McGraw.

On the red carpet prior to the big event, I spoke with Trannie Anderson and Dallas Wilson and asked them if there was an ‘aha” moment in the writers’ room when they wrote “Heart Like A Truck.”

“One thing that was special was that the three of us had written a lot of songs separately,” said Dallas.  “I’ve written a lot with Trannie, written a lot with Lainey and vice versa but this was the first time the three of us got to write together, the day we wrote ‘Heart Like a Truck.’”

“It was a God thing,” agreed Trannie. “We very much believe that because from that day on, I don’t even know how many songs we’ve written together. I’ve kinda lost count.  Something that’s really special started that we call the Heart Wranglers.  That’s what we call our writing trio. Lainey’s just been so sweet to include us in a lot of what’s going on for her. The Heart Wranglers opened up at the Bell Bottom Country release show, so a really special trio was started the day we wrote “Heart Like a Truck.”

I asked Tim McGraw what it meant to be here to support the songwriters who have supported him and other artists over the years.

“I’m such a huge fan of songwriters.  I’m a songwriter myself but I don’t put myself in the category of these guys,” said Tim.  “I mean I write for every record and just when I think I’ve got a great song and I think, ‘well, this is going to make the album,’ somebody sends me a song that says what I’m trying to say but says it so much better, so it ends up knocking my song off the album.  Every now and then, one of mine makes it but the song always has to win. The song is the impetus.”

He looked around and added, “I mean, the song built this house… The Ryman. The song has built this industry.  The song has built my career. The song makes all the difference in the world and the song can change the world.”

When I asked Nicolle Galyon what Songwriter Awards like this mean, she said, “Everyone says this but getting other songwriters’ approval is the greatest approval you can get as a writer.”

I then asked Nicolle for any advice she might give to aspiring female writers who see it as a male-dominated industry.

“I think if you enter into the music business thinking that ‘the boys are against you’ then you’re going to have a hard time,” she noted. “But if you enter into the music business thinking that you will succeed with the boys then you will.”

Megan Moroney’s “Tennessee Orange, which she recorded and co-wrote with David Fanning, Paul Jenkins, and Ben Williams, was one of the “10 Songs I Wish I’d Written.”  On the red carpet, I asked her: What makes Music City so special to her? 

“Nashville is the place where I spent my first year-and-a-half, two years, writing almost every single day,” said Megan, “So I really got to meet a lot of songwriters in the community and just to have such a supportive group.  I found my group of people that I love writing with and it’s really cool to sit down and spill your entire life to someone and then eventually it gets recorded and goes and helps a bunch of people too. I think that is just the coolest thing in the world to have so many talented people in the same place and it’s like everyone here wants everyone to win.  It’s like, we write well together, let’s write all the time, let’s get something good.  It’s cool to have so many talented people in one place.”

Tracy Lawrence Had a massive hit with “Time Marches On” written by Bobby Braddock. Tracy was at the event to participate in the honor to be bestowed upon Braddock.

“I’m always excited for Bobby,” said Tracy. “I mean, he’s been such a huge part of my career and not only mine but for so many people over the years.”

Tracy added, “Songwriters are the backbone of everything that we do. I love the creative process and I love being around people that think that way. We’re kind of a different breed. We have our little quirks but I love the way that songwriters view the world.  It’s an amazing thing so I’m always honored to be a part.”

Josiah Leming (who performs as Josiah and the Bonnevilles) was on hand to perform his rendition of NSAI’s first ’10 Song’ of the night, “Anti-Hero”, written by Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift.

“I’m a huge Bobby Braddock fan,” he told me before the show.  “There’s a podcast where Malcolm Gladwell talks to Bobby Braddock and calls him ‘the king of tears.’ I’m an East Tennessee ‘sad country song guy’ so getting to be in the same room as him, seeing those guys, Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, all these guys I have immense respect for; getting to see them do their thing up close and personal, and just try to watch everything that I can.  It’s very special.”

I asked NSAI President (and hit songwriter) Steve Bogard what made Nashville so unique.“Nashville is what Paris used to be to painting,” he said.  “Nashville is where songwriters come to meet each other, to hone their craft, to learn about what makes people happy in terms of in terms of songs.” It seemed to be the perfect explanation of what makes Nashville ‘Music City.’

More about NSAI at their website and Facebook page.

 

Follow Garth Brooks  

Garth Brooks Tour Dates


06/26/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
06/28/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
06/29/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
07/03/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
07/05/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
07/06/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
07/10/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
07/12/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
07/13/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
08/30/2024 : Frank Brown Park: Panama City Beach, FL
09/26/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
09/28/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
09/29/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
10/03/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
10/05/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
10/06/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
10/10/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
10/12/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
10/13/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
12/05/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
12/07/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
12/08/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
12/12/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
12/14/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
12/15/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
12/19/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
12/21/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV
12/22/2024 : The Colosseum at Caesars Palac: Las Vegas, NV

About Preshias Harris

Preshias Harris Journalist

Preshias Harris is a music journalist who has interviewed everyone from Alabama to ZZ Top for articles and stories published in numerous music magazines. She is the author of longest-running monthly country music column in America and authored The College of Songology™ 101: The Singer/Songwriter’s ‘Need To Know’ Reference Handbook. As a music career development consultant with special emphasis on emerging and aspiring artists and songwriters, she focuses on ‘chasing the dream’ while understanding the realities of the music industry. She maintains a writers’ room on Music Row – named The Sangtuary – for her clients and their co-writers. She is a member of ASCAP (as a publisher), BMI, The Country Music Association (CMA), The Recording Academy, The National Association of Talent Directors (NATD) and a life member of Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).

You can find out more about Preshias at https://www.collegeofsongology.com and find her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com