Songwriter Ashley Gorley Celebrated for Three No. 1 Songs

Cole Swindell, Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett Join This Week's Cheering Section

If you’re looking for songwriter Ashley Gorley these days, just follow the trail of rose petals.

The Kentucky-born composer was honored at three separate No. 1 parties in Nashville this week, and more such celebrations lie ahead.

By common count, Gorley has now co-written 30 country chart-toppers.

Seldom before has one man been called “amazing” and “awesome” so often within such a short period of time.

The trumpets for Gorley began blaring Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 28) in a media room at Warner Music where he and Zach Crowell were honored for penning Cole Swindell’s “Middle of a Memory.”

That evening, the toastathon moved a few blocks away to the Sutler saloon and more cheering for Gorley and co-writer Bryan Simpson for delivering Blake Shelton’s 23rd No. 1, “A Guy With a Girl.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the revels continued at the Kung Fu Saloon near Music Row, with Gorley, Shane McAnally and Luke Laird sharing laurels for delivering the Thomas Rhett hit, “T-Shirt.”

At the parties, each respective recording artist — Swindell, Shelton and Rhett — were on hand to add wattage to the occasion.

Currently, Gorley has five songs rising on Billboard’s country airplay charts, including Brad Paisley’s “Today,” Jon Pardi’s “Dirt on My Boots” and Dierks Bentley’s “Black.”

At the Rhett party — which memorialized two No. 1’s — Gorley moved back into the audience to watch Rhett, his dad, Rhett Akins, and his old family friend, Ben Hayslip accept, trophies for writing “Star of the Show.”

Steve Lowry

Akins, who’s been writing with Hayslip since they were 14 years old, joked that not only is “Star of the Show” one of those extremely rare father-and-son compositions, it’s also one of the few love songs a father-in-law writes about his daughter-in-law.

Hayslip recalled taking Thomas Rhett to an Alabama concert when he was 4 years old and watching the youngster sleep through the whole show. Akins said he never tried to turn his son’s interest toward music but that it came naturally.

The “Middle of a Memory” party featured two photographers who took Polaroid pictures of the guests — some posing with the artist and songwriters, some with each other — and presented them as gifts in “CS” (Cole Swindell) folders.

When accepting honors at the “A Guy With a Girl” soiree, Gorley said that despite his hits for other artists, people didn’t take him very seriously as a songwriter until he could boast a Blake Shelton hit.

Said Shelton, “The writers in this town are so talented it’s unbelievable. It’s no wonder people are flocking to Nashville from all genres and from all different parts of the world to be a part of this community because we embrace songwriters like Ashley and Bryan.”

Then he added, “Thank you guys for an awesome song at the perfect time for me, because I had literally experienced the song in every way you could imagine. … Go write me another one and quit sitting around.”

And the food at the parties? Well, at Warner Music, it was queso, guacamole and chips; at the Sutler, black bean bruschetta, raw vegetables, guacamole and chips, Nashville hot chicken with fried pickles and okra and club sandwiches; and at Kung Fu, chicken lettuce wraps, vegetable lettuce wraps, cheeseburger egg rolls and mini hamburgers.

So how does Ashley Gorley stay so thin?

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to