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Who are your CMA Songwriters 2018?


Since the CMA Songwriters announcement earlier today social media has been buzzing with people discussing who they’re excited about on the line up. I haven’t seen any moans and groans at this line up yet which is great and no wonder as every one of the five acts appearing in the round deserves their spot. However for those of you who don’t know who everyone is we’ve put together a handy little piece on each songwriter with an overview of their careers so far.

Lets start with our host for the evening Brett James. One word… Legend. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Brett perform in writers rounds in Nashville and each song he played was another hit. Back in 2015 when I saw him perform as part of Tin Pan South the number of number 1 hits he’d had was into double figures, well nearly three years later, I think this figure has increased quite a bit since then. He started off at medical school before moving to Nashville to try to make it as a songwriter but after nine months of waiting tables and playing open mics he was ready to give up (even the hit makers have had their ups and downs in this industry). But two decades later after almost walking away from the industry he is one of Country music’s most prolific songwriters and has written such hits as Jesus Take The Wheel and Cowboy Casanova for Carrie Underwood, multiple cuts for Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney and has crossed over into pop with the likes of Mr Know It All for Kelly Clarkson. He won the grammy for best country song with Jesus Take The Wheel. Brett has won Ascap’s songwriter of the year twice and has been credited as a songwriter on over 400 songs recorded by other artists. He is more than a worthy host for this stellar line up and I think many people’s jaws will drop after hearing this guy!

I am a huge Natalie Hemby fan! Again this is someone I have had the pleasure of seeing twice at Tin pan South in Nashville and she is just something else. Signed to Publishing company Creative Nation (home to such hitmakers as Lori McKenna, Barry Dean and Luke Laird) Natalie Hemby is another name with a string of top ten hits for various artists and not just in the country genre. One of Hemby’s most notable hits charted at number 7 on the UK singles charts and that song is Jealous by Labrinth. In the Country genre Hemby has written songs for Little big Town including Tornado and chart topper Pontoon, cuts for Miranda Lambert include Automatic, White Liar and Only Prettier and Downtown by Lady Antebellum. Last year Hemby released her first solo album Puxico which is a fantastic collection of songs and my favourite, which I hope she plays, fingers crossed, is This Town Still Talks About You. Not only is she a fantastic songwriter but Natalie has a beautiful voice so you’re really in for a treat with this lady, I can’t wait!

I won’t go into too much detail about Kip Moore as I have written a piece on him under the C2C artists section but one thing I will say is Kip is rather underrated within the Country genre. Not only has he written the majority of songs on his own records he has co-writing credits on two tracks of Thompson Square’s debut album, co-wrote James Wesley’s single Walking Contradiction and Frankie Ballard’s 2016 single Cigarette. It was Brett James who helped Kip to sign his first publishing deal so having the pair on stage together is quite fitting. You can read more about Kip Moore’s career on my article about the main stage artists on the C2C news section of the website.

Belmont University alumni Nicolle Galyon appeared on the voice a number of years ago but realised she was chasing something she didn’t really want. Galyon is now an acclaimed songwriter and has enjoyed success winning Song of the Year at the ACM’s and Single of the Year at the CMA’s with Miranda Lambert’s Automatic. The past couple of years has seen Nicolle have hits and cuts on records by Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini, Keith Urban, Dan and Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Lee Brice and Rae Lynn. She also has a co-writing credit on the song Halloween off Walker Hayes new album who is also performing a number of times throughout the weekend. As I’m writing this, more artists have been announced throughout the weekend and one of those is Danielle Bradbery. Her new record I Don’t Believe We’ve Met features a song co-written by Nicolle, Red Wine + White Couch. She is a great addition to the line up, having cuts for all the current, biggest acts, she’s bound to play some fan favourites.

Last but not least is Luke Combs, once again I won’t go into too much detail as I have already wrote about him under the main stage acts. Many of us have only just begun to hear of Luke Combs in the past year but in actual fact he’s been writing songs and releasing records for quite a while now. He released three EP’s before releasing his debut album on Columbia Nashville entitled This One’s For You last June and it went to number 1. He co-wrote every track on that record which saw his single Hurricane go to number 1 on the country Airplay chart and When It Rains it Pours go to number 1 on both the Hot Country songs chart and the Airplay charts. Again you can read more about Luke on the main stage artists article.

All in all it is bound to be a fantastic night of Country music and storytelling from some of the greatest writers of the genre. It may be one of the best CMA Songwriters Series yet!


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