November 02, 2015

Jimmy Carter Presents Trisha Yearwood with Voice of Music Award at 53rd Annual ASCAP Country Music Awards

Ashley Gorley Named Songwriter of the Year
Sam Hunt Named Songwriter-Artist of the Year
Hunt’s “Leave the Night On” Earns Song of the Year
Warner/Chappell Named Publisher of the Year

NASHVILLE, Nov. 2, 2015 -- The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) hosted the 53rd Annual ASCAP Country Music Awards on Monday, November 2nd at the Omni Nashville Hotel. The writers and publishers of country music's most-performed songs between April 2014 and March 2015 were honored before an audience of distinguished Nashville songwriters, top country stars and music industry leaders. Country star Trisha Yearwood was honored with ASCAP’s prestigious Voice of Music Award, presented by former President Jimmy Carter, and celebrated with three tribute performances introduced by pop star Justin Timberlake. Both are personal friends of Yearwood.

Top ASCAP Country Music Awards winners included:

  • Songwriter of the Year: Ashley Gorley
  • Songwriter-Artist of the Year: Sam Hunt
  • Song of the Year: “Leave the Night On,” written by Sam Hunt and Josh Osborne, performed by Sam Hunt
  • Publisher of the Year: Warner/Chappell Music

The ASCAP Voice of Music Award is presented to songwriters and artists whose music gives voice to the spirit of a generation. Trisha Yearwood has sold more than 12 million albums throughout the course of her career, and is a platinum-selling and multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winning recording artist. Three artists performed classic Yearwood songs in a special musical tribute during the show, including Lady Antebellum (“Walkaway Joe”), Reba McEntire (“The Song Remembers When”) and Garth Brooks’ daughter, Allie Brooks (“She’s in Love with the Boy”).

Ashley Gorley received Country Music Songwriter of the Year for the second year in a row, presented by ASCAP President Paul Williams and Nashville VP of Membership Michael Martin. He has received the award three times in total. Gorley won for co-writing six top-performing songs of 2014: “I See You” and “Play It Again” (recorded by Luke Bryan), “Just Gettin’ Started” (Jason Aldean), “Rewind” (Rascal Flatts), “See You Tonight” (Scotty McCreery) and “Yeah” (Joe Nichols). During the show, Gorley and Bryan performed “I See You” and “Play It Again,” two of the Top Five songs of 2014. 

“Leave the Night On,” recorded by Sam Hunt and written by Hunt and Josh Osborne, was named Song of the Year. Reba McEntire presented the award to Hunt and Osborne. Hunt performed the song during the awards show and also received the ASCAP Songwriter-Artist of the Year Award, presented by Dierks Bentley, a past winner of the same award. Publisher winners for “Leave the Night On” are One Little Indian Creek Music, Songs of Black River, Three Mules Music and Universal Music Publishing.

ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews and Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley presented this year’s ASCAP Country Music Publisher of the Year to Warner/Chappell Music.  Warner/Chappell published 16 of the most-performed ASCAP country songs of 2014.

Williams and ASCAP songwriter-artist Jerrod Niemann presented the Partners in Music Award to Sam Borgese, CEO for Logan’s Roadhouse. The award recognizes an ASCAP licensee that has shown exceptional dedication in presenting ASCAP members' music to the public. Logan’s Roadhouse is working with ASCAP to present Music City Live!, a national country music tour that features emerging ASCAP songwriters at selected Logan’s Roadhouse locations. ASCAP and Logan’s Roadhouse are also implementing educational and charitable programs to benefit music in local schools. 

Country Radio Seminar (CRS), an event that has played a historic role in the growth of country radio stations, was honored for its 45th anniversary by ASCAP board member Barry Coburn.  CRS Executive Director Bill Mayne, CRS board member and SiriusXM Radio host Charlie Monk and Judy Harris Music owner Judy Harris were on hand to accept the award.

The evening began with Old Dominion performing an upbeat version of their country hit “Break Up with Him,” and also showcased live performances of two more of the Top 5 ASCAP songs of 2014: “Get Me Some of That,” performed by songwriter Michael Carter (recorded by Thomas Rhett), and “Drinking Class,” performed by songwriter Josh Kear (recorded by Lee Brice).

In total, ASCAP honored the writers and publishers behind 46 most-performed songs, including hit songwriters Chris DeStefano, Brett James, Ben Hayslip, David Lee Murphy, Brad Paisley, Chris Tompkins and more. The star-studded event also brought out songwriter-artists A Thousand Horses, Kelsea Ballerini, Lee Brice, Garth Brooks, Brothers Osborne, The Cadillac Three, Dan + Shay, Tyler Farr, Maddie & Tae, Kip Moore, David Nail, Eric Paslay, Cassaddee Pope, John Rich, Cole Swindell, Swon Brothers, Lee Ann Womack, and dozens more of country music’s elite.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 700,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.



Media Contacts:

Cathy Halgas Nevins/ASCAP

cnevins (at)


Ronna Rubin/Rubin Media