Songwriters Celebrated At Inaugural Nashville Songwriter Awards

Nashville, Tennessee (September 20, 2018) – A packed house at the RYMAN on Wednesday September 19th celebrated the inaugural Nashville Songwriter Awards, presented by the Nashville Songwriters Association International and City National Bank. The top honor of the night, ‘Song of the Year’ was awarded to Matt Dragstrem, Ben Hayslip, and Josh Thompson for “I’ll Name The Dogs,” recorded by Blake Shelton. Ashley Gorley was recognized as ‘Songwriter of the Year’ for the 4th time, and Brandon Lancaster received the award for ‘Songwriter-Artist of the Year.’

The evening included stories, videos, and incredible performances by some of today’s hottest artists who filled the RYMAN to honor the songs, songwriters, and those dedicated to the songwriting community. Performers included Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett, Jamey Johnson, Chris Janson, LANCO, Kip Moore, Jewel, Darius Rucker, Brantley Gilbert, Travis Denning, and more! 

“The first ever Nashville Songwriter Awards was a joyous celebration of songwriters, stars, and the real stars of the show: THE SONGS.  It was a great evening of great writers with the great artists they write for and with, a whirlwind of music and moments honoring our champions, our heroes and the best songwriters among us.” – Steve Bogard (NSAI Board President)
Additional honorees of the evening included Bill Anderson recognized with the Kris Kristofferson Lifetime Achievement Award, Congressman Doug Collins, who was honored with the White Hat Award, and Cary Sherman, who was honored with the Stephen Foster Award. The annual awards are set to return to the Ryman Auditorium Fall 2019.

Matt Dragstrem, Josh Thompson, Blake Shelton, and Ben Hayslip, celebrate backstage after "I'll Name the Dogs," was named NSAI 2018 'Song of the Year'

“I’LL NAME THE DOGS” Written by Matt Dragstrem, Ben Hayslip, Josh Thompson
Given in recognition to a songwriter whose works have made a significant
contribution to the American songbook and who has inspired the careers of others.
Bestowed by the NSAI Board of Directors to an individual who has significantly
served the American songwriting community.

Given in recognition of a lifetime of dedication to music creators and the recording industry.

Each year, the highly-coveted Ten Songs I Wish I’d Written Awards are voted on by Professional Songwriter Members of NSAI honoring the work of their songwriter peers. Songs eligible for the award have at least one Nashville-based writer and charted in the Top 20 of Billboard Airplay chart in the Christian, Country, Mainstream Top 40, and/or Rock genres between July 1, 2017, and April 30, 2018. The NSAI Song Of The Year is the highest vote-getter.
“Broken Halos” – Written by:  Mike Henderson, Chris Stapleton
“Every Little Thing” – Written by: busbee, Carly Pearce, Emily Shackelton
“Five More Minutes” – Written by:  Monty Criswell, Scotty McCreery, Frank Rogers
“I Could Use A Love Song” – Written by: Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz
“I Lived It” – Written by: Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, Ben Hayslip
“It Ain’t My Fault” – Written by: Lee Thomas Miller, John Osborne, T.J. Osborne
“Marry Me” – Written by: Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley, Shane McAnally, Thomas Rhett
“Most People Are Good” – Written by: David Frasier, Ed Hill, Josh Kear
“Written In The Sand” – Written by: Shane McAnally, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen,   Brad Tursi
“Yours If You Want It” – Written by: Andrew Dorff, Jonathan Singleton

Bill Anderson (pictured with Steve Bogard - NSAI President) received the Kris Kristofferson Lifetime Achievement Award

Brandon Lancaster honored as NSAI 2018 'Songwriter-Artist of the Year'

Pictured L-R: Steve Bogard (NSAI President), Darius Rucker, Bart Herbison (NSAI Executive Director), Cong. Doug Collins (GA), recipient of The White Hat Award, and Lee Thomas Miller (NSAI Former President)

NSAI 2018 'Songwriter of the Year,' Ashley Gorley with wife, Mandy Gorley

Writers of the NSAI 2018 Ten 'Songs I Wish I'd Written' Awards take the stage to celebrate

RIAA Chairman and CEO, and NSAI 'Stephen Foster Award' recipient, Cary Sherman and Jewel backstage at the RYMAN'

Sponsors: Presenting Sponsor - City National Bank. Special thanks to our additional supporting sponsors: Academy of Country Music, Hotel Indigo, Jack Daniels, Loeb & Loeb, National Association of Broadcasters/Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, Recording Academy, Recording Industry Association of America, Soundexchange, and Visit Music City.

About City National: With $48.7 billion in assets, City National Bank provides banking, investment and trust services through 72 offices, including 19 full-service regional centers, in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada, New York City, Nashville, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. In addition, the company and its investment affiliates manage or administer $64.9 billion in client investment assets.
City National is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC serves more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the United States and 34 other countries.  For more information about City National, visit the company’s website at
About NSAI: Established in 1967, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is the world’s largest not-for-profit songwriters trade organization and has a membership of more than 5,000 spanning the United States and eight (8) foreign countries. Consisting of a body of creative minds, including songwriters from all genres of music, professional and amateur, for over 50 years, NSAI has been committed to protecting the rights and future of the profession of songwriting, as well as carrying a commitment to educate, elevate, and celebrate the songwriter, acting as a unifying force within the music community and the community at large. For more information, visit