Song of the Year

Honoring Josh Kear, Chris Tompkins and Dave Berg

"Before He Cheats"
Writers: Josh Kear, Chris Tompkins
Publishers: Big Loud Shirt; Mighty Under Dog Music; Sony/ATV Music Publishing

"If You're Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows)"
Writer: Dave Berg
Publishers: BergBrain Music; Cal IV Entertainment

Josh Kear


Versatile singer-songwriter Josh Kear wields a sympathetic eye and keen awareness that color his compositions. Whether tapping in to the misgivings of a devoted suitor or inhabiting the fury of a scorned lover, Kear reveals candid moments of hilarity, pain and longing.

The east Tennessee native boasts ten years of professional songwriting experience, but 2006 ushered in a new level of achievement. Kear garnered unprecedented success with Carrie Underwood's rendition of his scathing anthem, "Before He Cheats." The hit roosted atop the Billboard Country chart for five weeks, and went on to earn nominations for Single and Song of the Year at the 2006 CMA Awards. Co-written with friend Chris Tompkins, "Before He Cheats" crossed over onto MTV and VH1, snagged top 5 slots in both the Adult Contemporary and Top 40 charts, and secured the People's Choice Award for Best Country Song of the Year.

Later that year, Kear's "Bama Breeze" earned the admiration of Jimmy Buffett. Buffet recorded the song - a nostalgic tribute to the characters and watering holes of the gulf coast devastated by the year's onslaught of hurricanes. Hank Williams, Jr. recognized an ally in Kear after hearing "How They Do It In Dixie." Bocephus recorded the song enlisting the help of friends Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich and Van Zandt.

Contemporary country stars Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw, songstress Chely Wright and up-and-comer Bucky Covington, along with Kenny Rogers and Lynard Skynard, have all recorded tunes penned by Kear. The songwriter's soothing voice, melodic knack and uncanny instinct leave no doubt that the list will only grow longer.

Chris Tompkins


Hailing from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and influenced by the likes of Jackson Browne and Neil Young, Chris focused on developing himself as a professional songwriter, vocalist and piano player during his high school years in the marching band. Practice and hard work paid off, leading to full time keyboard work on demo sessions as well as co-writes with various writers in the Muscle Shoals area. In the summer of 2000 at age 22, Chris made the move to Nashville and got his first publishing deal at Little House Music. In 2004 he penned his first Top 20 hit single "Me and Emily," co-written with friend and artist, Rachel Proctor.

The 2005 American Idol winner Carrie Underwood recorded his song "Before He Cheats" for her debut album, Some Hearts, that is now RIAA-certified Sextuple Platinum. "Before He Cheats" landed the #1 Spot on Country radio for 5 consecutive weeks receiving a 2007 Academy of Country Music (ACM) "Song Of The Year" nomination, a 2007 Country Music Awards (CMA) "Song Of the Year" nomination, and was named "Best Country Song" at the 2007 People's Choice Awards. The massive pop crossover-format appeal has delivered Top 10 success at Hot AC and Mainstream Top 40/Hot 100 with "Before He Cheats," becoming a Top 5 favorite video on VH1's VSpot Top 20 Video Countdown as well as the first country video ever to air on MTV's TRL and the first country video added to MTV since 1999. In addition, "Before He Cheats" has achieved Platinum Mastertone certification and is currently the best-selling digital country song in all chart history.

Some other recordings of Chris' include Jimmy Buffett's "Bama Breeze" and Hank Williams Jr.'s "That's How They Do It In Dixie", featuring country superstars Gretchen Wilson, Big and Rich and VanZant.

Chris was recently honored as Music Row's "Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year" for 2007 and has been named Songwriter Of The Year by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He is currently a staff songwriter for Big Loud Shirt Industries.

Dave Berg


It's no surprise that NSAI has named Cal IV songwriter, Dave Berg, Songwriter Of The Year. Penning Number One Hits for Keith Urban, Rodney Atkins and Emerson Drive in recent months, Dave is the newest recipient of the Country Music Association's coveted Triple Play Award for achieving three number one singles within a twelve-month period. His breakout run began in 2004 when his hit, "Somebody," performed by Reba McEntire, went #1. Then in 2006, Dave celebrated a four-week number one for Rodney Atkins' "If You're Goin' Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows)." This smash was honored as the R&R/Billboard Country Single of the Year for scoring the most airplay of any Country song in 2006 and received nominations at the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards for Song and Single of the Year, respectively. Shortly thereafter, Keith Urban's recording of "Stupid Boy" climbed to #1 on Music Row's Breakout chart, earning Dave a nomination for CMA's Song Of The Year Award. Other current and recent singles include Emerson Drive's #1 hit, "Moments," Rodney Atkins latest #1, "These Are My People," Blake Shelton's top 15 single "Don't Make Me," Sarah Buxton's debut single "Innocence," Chris Cagle' single "What Kind Of Gone," and Bucky Covington's latest single, "It's Good To Be Us."

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Dave moved to Nashville as his Ty Herndon single "I Want My Goodbye Back" hit the Top 5. Since then, Dave's songs have been recorded by country music legends and rising stars alike, including Tracy Lawrence, Terri Clark, Tracy Byrd, Ronnie Milsap, The Warren Brothers, Lorrie Morgan, Katrina Elam, and Jimmy Wayne, to name a few. Dave has recently enjoyed international success with songs on projects ranging from the #1-selling Hungarian album, to the top-selling record and ad campaign for Chinese recording artist and movie superstar, Aaron Kwok.

A successful independent artist in his own right, Dave has recorded two critically acclaimed albums Surface and Three Perfect Days. To learn more about Dave, visit