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Nashville’s Top Songwriters Share Insight Into Beloved Hits at CMA Triple Play Awards, Songwriters Series

What an incredible night of music!

Nashville’s Top Songwriters Share Insight Into Beloved Hits at CMA Triple Play Awards, Songwriters Series
The 10th annual CMA Triple Play Awards recipients were honored at an industry luncheon on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works. (L – R): Host Troy Tomlinson, Sony/ATV Music Publishing President and CEO and CMA Board member; Jesse Frasure; Thomas Rhett; Luke Combs; Josh Kear; Nicolle Galyon; Josh Osborne; Ashley Gorley; Chase McGill; Jody Williams, BMI Vice President, Creative, Nashville and CMA Board Chairman; and Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer; Photo credit: Electric Machine/CMA

The 2019 CMA Triple Play Awards and Songwriters Series proved that the songwriters behind country music’s celebrated hits are the real stars of Music City. Thomas Rhett, Luke Combs, Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally, Ashley Gorley, Josh Osborne, Jesse Frasure, Josh Kear and Chase McGill were honored with the award that recognizes songwriters who’ve achieved three No. 1 hits in a one year period.

Later in the evening, Combs, Galyon, Kear, Osborne, McGill and Gorley performed several of the hits that made them the most sought after songwriters in Nashville in an intimate round at Marathon Music Works. In between Galyon’s soulful interpretation of Camilla Cabello’s “Consequences,” Kear’s powerful “Need You Now” and Osborne’s rousing rendition of “Body Like a Back Road,” the writers shared insight into these storied chart-toppers to a capacity room.

Nicolle Gaylon at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

Nicolle Gaylon at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

“What no one told me about was this little word called ‘almost.’”

While expressing gratefulness for her first Triple Play Award for penning Dan + Shay’s colossal hit “Tequila,” Kenny Chesney’s “All the Pretty Girls” and ”Coming Home” by Keith Urban, Galyon explained how often songwriters hear the word “no.” But she views such rejection from a different perspective, acknowledging how “almost” has served as a defining word. “That to me has had more of an impact on my career and my character and my journey,” she conveyed about how an artist almost cut one of her songs or a song almost made it to the top of the charts. “I feel like this is very fragile because there’s no amount of talent or hustle or hard work that turns that ‘almost’ into a ‘yes,’ it’s God, and it is either meant to be for you or not and I will never wrap my mind around why this was meant to be for me.”

Thomas Rhett at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

Thomas Rhett at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

“I feel like we write songs about what we know.”

Rhett experienced a whirlwind of success in 2018, including three consecutive No. 1 singles with “Unforgettable,” “Marry Me” and “Life Changes.” The latter is a musical autobiography that finds him recalling memories of his college days and welcoming his two daughters into the family. What made the process particularly special was writing it alongside his father, Rhett Akins, an experience he calls “probably the coolest thing in the world, to get to write a song about my life and then my dad getting to put perspective into watching me grow up,” he reflects. “[I’m] just super excited to be a part of this community, this award means the world.”

Luke Combs at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

Luke Combs at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

“I wish I would’ve started doing this a lot sooner.”

Leading up to one of the most poignant performances of the night with “Dear Today,” Combs used it as an opportunity to inspire the mixed generation crowd to fight for their dreams. Combs divulged how he dropped out of college at Appalachian State University one semester shy of graduation, admitting that he wished he had pursued music earlier in life. “I guess the moral of the story is if you’re sitting out in the audience and you want to be a trash man or an astronaut or whatever the hell you want to be, you should do that because you can,” he encouraged to cheers from the crowd.

Luke Combs at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

Luke Combs at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

“It’s probably the most important song that I’ve ever written.”

Combs also delivered one of the most heartfelt moments of the round when he shared how his beloved single “Beautiful Crazy” is the key to his relationship with Nicole Hocking. The song describing his favorite attributes of his fiancée was written before they were dating, and when he played it for her days after, it sparked their relationship that ultimately led to an engagement. “This is the song that won her heart,” he narrated. “It’s one of my favorites, probably the most important song that I’ve ever written…I probably would’ve been writing songs about her for her rest of my life even if she said no.”

Ashley Gorley at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

Ashley Gorley at the 2019 Triple Play Awards; Photo courtesy of CMA

“It’s a unique thing writing country music.”

Gorley is the most decorated Triple Play winner, having won the award a whopping 12 times, and he proved why with a setlist that featured “Play it Again, “Dirt on My Boots” and “Marry Me.” Gorley ended the evening on a poignant note, thanking the audience for appreciating country music, reflecting on how that fuels the writers’ passion to create meaningful songs. “All of us up here love writing country music and we love that you guys love listening to it,” he said, noting how the genre tells a range of stories from “Tequila” to “Body Like a Back Road.” “There’s so much subject matter that we get to cover as writers because you guys have all been through that and can relate to it. We just appreciate you guys as an audience.”

The 10th annual CMA Triple Play Awards recipients were recognized for the following:

Luke Combs
“Hurricane”
“When It Rains It Pours”
“One Number Away”

Jesse Frasure
“Unforgettable,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Marry Me,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Life Changes,” recorded by Thomas Rhett

Nicolle Galyon
“All the Pretty Girls,” recorded by Kenny Chesney
“Tequila,” recorded by Dan + Shay
“Coming Home,” recorded by Keith Urban ft. Julia Michaels

Ashley Gorley
“Fix A Drink,” recorded by Chris Janson
“Marry Me,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Life Changes,” recorded by Thomas Rhett

Tyler Hubbard
“Meant to Be,” recorded by Bebe Rexha ft. Florida Georgia Line
“You Make It Easy,” recorded by Jason Aldean
“Simple,” recorded by Florida Georgia Line

Josh Kear
“God, Your Mama, And Me,” recorded by Florida Georgia Line ft. Backstreet Boys
“Most People Are Good,” recorded by Luke Bryan
“Woman, Amen,” recorded by Dierks Bentley

Shane McAnally
“Written in the Sand,” recorded by Old Dominion
“Marry Me,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Get Along,” recorded by Kenny Chesney

Chase McGill
“Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset,” recorded by Luke Bryan
“Break Up in the End,” recorded by Cole Swindell
“Lose It,” recorded by Kane Brown

Josh Osborne
“Drinkin’ Problem,” recorded by Midland
“All the Pretty Girls,” recorded by Kenny Chesney
“Get Along,” recorded by Kenny Chesney

Thomas Rhett
“Unforgettable”
“Marry Me”
“Life Changes”