Nashville Songwriter Awards Reveal 2020 Songwriter of the Year: Exclusive

Ashley Gorley
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for ACM

Ashley Gorley performs during ACM Stories, Songs & Stars: A Songwriter's Event Benefiting ACM Lifting Lives at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 13, 2018 in Las Vegas.

For a record fifth time, Ashley Gorley has been named songwriter of the year at the Nashville Songwriter Awards.

This year, the awards, presented by the Nashville Songwriters Association International and sponsored by City National Bank, are virtual after the pandemic made it unsafe to gather in person. Billboard has partnered with NSAI to reveal winners in key categories.

In this exclusive video, artists including Dustin Lynch, Mike Young and Jon Jones from Eli Young Band and Chase Rice laud the ASCAP songwriter of the year and CMA Award winner.

“Creating and collaborating with Ashley is always a lot of fun, says Lynch. “It’s like the dude can just grab stuff every single day out of the air. He’s just full of music.” Gorley co-wrote “Ridin’ Roads” with Lynch, which became Lynch’s seventh No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in January.

Nashville Songwriter Awards: 2020 Songwriter of the Year

“If you get sent a song that Ashley’s a writer on, that’s the first thing you listen to,” says Eli Young Band’s Jon Jones. He further dissects what made “Love Ain’t,” the band’s fourth No. 1 on Country Airplay last year, so special.

“Country music is built around these simple progressions and this simple idea of telling a story,” Jones’ bandmate Young adds. “Ashley finds this unique way of telling the story through the melody and these lyrics he comes up with.”

NSAI’s songwriter of the year is determined by a mathematical formula that takes into account the percentage of a Nashville-associated song the songwriter is credited with and the song’s performance on a week to week basis in the Top 20 of the Billboard Country Airplay Chart, Billboard Pop Songs Chart, Billboard Christian Airplay Chart or Billboard Rock Airplay Chart. The eligibility period is May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020.

Also among the 11 hits that Gorley co-wrote during the eligibility period that led to his win are “Catch,” performed by Brett Young; “Good Vibes,” performed by Chris Janson;  “Remember You Young” performed by Thomas Rhett and “Rumor,” performed by Lee Brice.

Stick around until the end of the video to watch Rice perform a snippet of “Eyes on You,” the song he co-wrote with Gorley that became Rice’s first Country Airplay No. 1 in May 2019.