ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Talks About Industry Changes

Ashley Gorley Says, "The Box Has Been Widened"

I had a pretty good idea Ashley Gorley was going to win songwriter of the year from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) on Monday night (Nov. 3).

Gorley was listed three times in the performing rights organization’s Top 5 most-performed songs from April 2013 to March 2014.

So before he went inside the awards ceremony in Nashville, I caught up with him on the red carpet and asked him when he knows a song he’s writing is going to be a big award-winning hit.

“It happens at different points with every song,” he said. “Sometimes it’s when you listen back to it when it’s over, sometimes it’s when you hear it on the radio and sometimes it’s during the session. And you realize it’s better than you thought.”

Admitting he has a pretty good radar, he still said it’s not always easy to tell the hits from the duds.

“You never know. Otherwise, I’d just stop every song I’m writing and only write once a week,” he laughed. “They’re all very different, and you never know when one’s gonna pull through.”

The three songs Gorley co-wrote that were in the Top 5 of the night include Luke Bryan‘s “Crash My Party,” Brett Eldredge‘s “Don’t Ya” and Randy Houser‘s “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight.” But he was also honored for his other big hits from the year — “All Over the Road” (Justin Moore), “Aw Naw” (Chris Young), “Hey Girl” (Billy Currington), “Radio” (Darius Rucker) and “That’s My Kind of Night” (Luke Bryan).

Gorley knows the music that’s winning awards right now isn’t exactly like the stuff winning awards 15 or 20 years ago. And he’s cool with that.

“Songwriting has changed, and music has gotten more melodic,” he said. “I wouldn’t say less country. It’s just that the box has been widened. I love how all the stuff’s intermingled. I’ll listen to Florida Georgia Line next to Alan Jackson next to Vince Gill next to Randy Houser.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.