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5 Best Moments at the 2019 ASCAP Country Music Awards

“Just keep fu**ing going.”

Written by Cillea Houghton
5 Best Moments at the 2019 ASCAP Country Music Awards
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 11: (L-R) Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Paul Williams and Randy Travis seen onstage during the 57th Annual ASCAP Country Music Awards on November 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

It was all about the songwriters at the 2019 ASCAP Country Music Awards in Nashville on Monday (Nov. 11). Music City is brimming with gifted songwriters who help create the genre-defining songs, many of whom were honored with a reception at the Renaissance Hotel for their talent and hard work that takes place behind-the-scenes.

Brothers Osborne were the recipients of the ASCAP Vanguard Award for their progressive work that’s helped move the genre forward, while Randy Travis was bestowed with the esteemed ASCAP Founders Award for his groundbreaking efforts that have paved the away for artists across generations and made him a country icon. The evening included performances by two of Travis’ loyal fans, Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood, while Little Big Town recognized ASCAP Global Impact Award winner Hillary Lindsey with a performance of the Grammy winning hit she co-wrote “Girl Crush,” with thoughtful speeches weaved in between.

Here are five of the best moments at the 2019 ASCAP Country Music Awards.

Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini and ASCAP VP of Membership Mike Sistad honor Hillary Lindsey with the Global Impact Award; Photo credit: Ed Rode
Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini and ASCAP VP of Membership Mike Sistad honor Hillary Lindsey with the Global Impact Award; Photo credit: Ed Rode

“I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for Randy Travis.”  

Brooks was one of two superstars to honor Travis, surprising the audience when he stepped on to the stage to sing a true-to-the-original rendition of the legendary star’s classic hit, “Forever and Ever, Amen.” After the performance, Brooks raved about the Travis’ impact on the genre, echoing the speech he delivered at Travis’ induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016, referencing how he brought country music back to a traditional state after it swayed to the pop realm after the release of Urban Cowboy in 1980. “It is 100 percent my belief, this man saved country music single-highhandedly,” Brooks proclaimed. “I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for Randy Travis.”  

“One of my favorite voices and favorite people in country music.”

Underwood delivered one of the most noteworthy performances of the night with her cover of “Promises,” which she noted as her favorite song from Travis’ catalogue. After calling Travis “one of my favorite voices and favorite people in country music,” she shared how she’s admired him since childhood and cried the first time she met him. She followed the kind words with a touching performance of the somber ballad about a man whose false promises will only lead to a broken heart, her stunning voice echoing through the ballroom.

“Music speaks for the voiceless.”

Travis and his wife Mary were on hand to accept the Founders Award, earning a standing ovation as they made their way to the stage where Mary delivered a poised, but passionate testimony about her husband’s impact. “Music speaks for the voiceless, and we certainly understand that at this juncture in life and path that we’ve been given to walk,” she said, describing how artists from all genres have approached them to share how his music has inspired them. “You are a thread in the tapestry of all of our lives in some way, shape or form,” she continued. “And the songs that you left us before the stroke borrowed your voice over six and a half years ago will live in our hearts and remain the soundtrack of our lives forever and ever, amen.”

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen present the ASCAP Vanguard Award to Brothers Osborne; Photo credit: Ed Rode
Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen present the ASCAP Vanguard Award to Brothers Osborne; Photo credit: Ed Rode

“I still have a hard time believing in myself.”

While Brothers Osborne have grown into one of the most revered acts in modern country music, T.J. offered intriguing insight that brought the prestigious Vanguard Award to a human level. The singer admits he lives with “imposter syndrome,” remarking how he carried a sense of self-doubt throughout his childhood, a mentality he admittedly harbors today even with all the duo’s acclaim. From the time I was a little boy, I’ve just had a really hard time believing in myself. It’s taken a lot of people to believe in John and I to get us here. And even still after achieving everything, I still have a hard time believing in myself, I still question myself daily,” he reflected, acknowledging multiple people who were early believers in the duo and thanked ASCAP for the honor. “Because with this bad boy in my house, it will strip that just a little bit more, feeling like an imposter when I see this thing every morning,” he said to laughs and cheers of support from the crowd.    

“Keep fu**ing going.”

John followed his brother’s thought-provoking words with his own, bringing a dose of motivation to the room filled with fellow songwriters. In a highlight reel aired before they accepted the award, John was shown at a previous ASCAP Awards ceremony telling the crowd to “keep fu**ing going,” persuasive words of advice he again drove into to the packed room. “The ‘keep fu**ing going’ line, I really mean that,” he reiterated, recalling his first time attending the ASCAP Awards and longing to be on stage to accept such an accolade, a dream he believes aspiring writers in that same position can attain. “I truly, firmly believe this, if I can be up here getting an award like this, all you new writers in this room, this is yours too. You will get it,” he encouraged. “Just keep fu**ing going.”

MOST PERFORMED SONGS
*** Indicates a Top 3 ASCAP country song

Babe
Recorded by Sugarland feat. Taylor Swift
Written by Pat Monahan
Published by Monoman Music, Sony ATV

Break Up in the End
Recorded and Written by Jon Nite
Published by Nite Writer Music, Sony ATV

Burn Out
Recorded by Midland
Written by Jess Carson, Josh Osborne, Mark Wystrach
Published by Songs of Black River, Spirit Music Nashville, Tiptop Music, Tropical Cowboy Publishing, Warner Chappell Music

Cry Pretty
Recorded by Carrie Underwood
Written by Hillary Lindsey
Published by Birb Music, BMG Gold Songs, Rezonant Music

Drunk Girl
Recorded by Chris Janson
Written by Scooter Carusoe
Published by BMG Gold Songs, Carnival Music, Endurance Music Group

Drunk Me
Recorded by Mitchell Tenpenny
Written by Jordan Schmidt
Published by Tree Vibez Music, Warner Chappell Music, We-Volve Music

Eyes on You
Recorded by Chase Rice
Written by Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley
Published by CD’s Words & Music, Combustion Music, Round Hill Music, Sony ATV, Warner Chappell

Get Along ***
Recorded by Kenny Chesney
Written by Josh Osborne
Published by Anderson Fork in the Road Music, Smacksongs, Sony ATV

Girl Like You
Recorded by Jason Aldean
Written by Josh Mirenda
Published by Cornman Music, Warner Chappell Music

Good Girl
Recorded by Dustin Lynch
Written by Andy Albert
Published by Buzz Light Beer Music, Downtown DLJ Songs

Hangin’ On
Recorded by Chris Young
Written by Corey Crowder
Published by Liz Rose Music, Warner Chappell Music

Heart Break
Recorded by Lady Antebellum
Written by Dave Haywood
Published by Haywoodja Cut That Songs, The Best I Could Do Publishing, Warner Chappell Music

Here Tonight
Recorded by Brett Young
Written by Ben Caver, Brett Young
Published by Big Machine Music, Caliville Publishing, Songs of Black River, The Best I Could Do Publishing, Warner Chappell Music

Hide the Wine
Recorded by Carly Pearce
Written by Ashley Gorley, Hillary Lindsey
Published by BMG Gold Songs, Combustion Music, Endurance Music Group, Round Hill Music, Warner Chappell Music

Hooked
Recorded by Dylan Scott
Written by Seth Ennis
Published by Liz Rose Music, Warner Chappell Music

Hotel Key
Recorded by Old Dominion
Written by Josh Osborne, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen
Published by Anderson Fork in the Road Music, Smacksongs, Sony ATV, Rehits Music, Rezonant Music, Unfair Entertainment, Warner Chappell Music

I Lived It
Recorded by Blake Shelton
Written by Ashley Gorley, Ben Hayslip
Published by Combustion Music, Pinetucky Road Publishing, Round Hill Music, This Music, Warner Chappell Music

I Was Jack (You Were Diane)
Recorded by Jake Owen
Written by Craig Wiseman, David Ray, John Mellencamp
Published by Big Loud Songs, David Ray Music, Red Toe Rocker, Round Hill Music, Sony ATV

Kiss Somebody
Recorded by Morgan Evans
Written by Chris DeStefano, Josh Osborne
Published by Anderson Fork in the Road Music, CD’s Words & Music, Smacksongs, Sony ATV

Kinda Don’t Care
Recorded by Justin Moore
Written by Ben Hayslip
Published by This Music, Warner Chappell Music

Last Shot
Recorded by Kip Moore
Written by David Lee Murphy, Kip Moore
Published by Cornman Music, N2D Publishing Company Inc., Old Desperadoes LLC, Point Break Publishing, Warner Chappell Music

Life Changes
Recorded by Thomas Rhett
Written by Ashley Gorley
Published by Combustion Music, Round Hill Music, Warner Chappell Music

Love Ain’t
Recorded by Eli Young Band
Written by Ashley Gorley
Published by Combustion Music, Round Hill Music, Warner Chappell Music

Love Wins
Recorded by Carrie Underwood
Written by Brett James, David Garcia
Published by Songs of Brett, Spirit Music Nashville, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music

Make It Sweet
Recorded by Old Dominion
Written by Brad Tursi, Geoff Sprung, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Whit Sellers
Published by Big Deal Music Group, Rehits Music, Rezonant Music, Sharkules Music, Smacksongs, Tiny Handstand, Universal Music Publishing Group, Unfair Entertainment, Warner Chappell Music

Meant to Be
Recorded by Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line
Written by David Garcia
Published by Spirit Music Nashville, Universal Music Publishing Group

Mercy
Recorded by Brett Young
Written by Brett Young
Published by Big Machine Music, Caliville Publishing

Miss Me More
Recorded by Kelsea Ballerini
Written by Kelsea Ballerini, Leland
Published by Bob Ochoa’s Homemade Salsa, KNB Music, Songs of Black River, Sony ATV

Most People Are Good
Recorded by Luke Bryan
Written by Josh Kear
Published by Big Yellow Dog Music, Champagne Whiskey Publishing

On My Way to You
Recorded by Cody Johnson
Written by Brett James, Tony Lane
Published by BMG Gold Songs, Combustion Music, Heytone Music, One77 Songs, Songs of Brett, Warner Chappell Music

One Number Away ***
Recorded by Luke Combs
Written by Steven Battey
Published by Mall B Publishing

One That Got Away
Recorded by Michael Ray
Written by Josh Osborne, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen
Published by Anderson Fork in the Road Music, Rehits Music, Rezonant Music, Smacksongs, Sony ATV, Warner Chappell Music

Rumor
Recorded by Lee Brice
Written by Ashley Gorley, Kyle Jacobs
Published by Combustion Music, Curb|Word Music Publishing, Jacobsongs, Round Hill Music, Warner Chappell Music

She Got the Best of Me
Recorded by Luke Combs
Written by Luke Combs
Published by Little Extra Music, No Cats Round Here

Speechless
Recorded by Dan + Shay
Written by Dan Smyers, Jordan Reynolds
Published by Beats & Banjos, Buckeye26, Jreynmusic, Warner Chappell Music

Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset
Recorded by Luke Bryan
Written by Zach Crowell
Published by Combustion Music, Lake Allegan Pub Club, One77 Songs, Spirit Music Nashville, Tape Room Music, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music

Take It from Me
Recorded by Jordan Davis
Written by Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis
Published by Anthem Entertainment, Jordan Davis Music, Rehits Music, Rezonant Music

Tequila ***
Recorded by Dan + Shay
Written by Dan Smyers, Jordan Reynolds
Published by Beats & Banjos, Buckeye26, Jreynmusic, Warner Chappell Music

This Is It
Recorded by Scotty McCreery
Written by Aaron Eshuis, Frank Rogers
Published by Fluid Tunes, Ice House Tunes, Smacksongs, Spirit Music Nashville

What Makes You Country
Recorded by Luke Bryan
Written by Ashley Gorley
Published by Combustion Music, Round Hill Music, Warner Chappell Music

Whiskey Glasses
Recorded by Morgan Wallen
Written by Kevin Kadish
Published by Endurance Music Group, Shooting Moving Targets in the Dark, Sony ATV

Woman, Amen
Recorded by Dierks Bentley
Written by Dierks Bentley, Josh Kear
Published by Big Yellow Dog Music, Champagne Whiskey Publishing, Dudetunes

You Make It Easy
Recorded by Jason Aldean
Written by Jordan Schmidt
Published by Tree Vibez Music, Warner Chappell Music, We-Volve Music