2017 MusicRow Awards: Song of the Year Nominees


Voted by MusicRow’s subscribed members to honor writers and publishers on the craft of songwriting, not necessarily chart performance.


“Blue Ain’t Your Color
Songwriters: Steven Lee Olsen, Hillary Lindsey, Clint Lagerberg
Publishers: WB Music Corp., Music Of The Corn, Rezolution Music, BMG Gold Songs, House Of Sea Gayle Music, Spirit Catalog Holdings, S.a.r.l./Spirit Two Nashville, ASCAP
Recorded by Keith Urban (Capitol Nashville)

The title “Blue Ain’t Your Color” came to Steven Lee Olsen in the middle of the night. He took the idea to co-writer Clint Lagerberg and then recruited Hillary Lindsey. The result was a present-day classic about a woman feeling blue and the suitor trying to paint her bright. Keith Urban was hooked immediately when he heard the demo. MusicRow Producer of the Year nominee Dann Huff added studio finesse and the song went on to earn two Grammy nominations. Meanwhile, Olsen is also nominated for MusicRow Breakthrough Songwriter.


Kill A Word”                     
Songwriters: Eric Church, Jeff Hyde, Luke Dick
Publishers: Sony/ATV Tree Publishing, Longer And Louder Music, Little Louder Songs, Mammaw’s Fried Okra Music, Emileon Songs, BMI
Recorded by Eric Church ft Rhiannon Giddens (EMI Nashville)

Eric Church, Jeff Hyde and Luke Dick made a profound statement on Church’s hit “Kill A Word.” Dick had the initial idea for the song about stopping negative words—conjuring imagery with lyrics like “poison never,” “shoot goodbye,” “choke lonely” and “hang hate,” with a redeeming chorus that says, “I’d turn lies and hate to love and truth.” The track landed on Church’s album Mr. Misunderstood, which went on to win CMA Album of the Year. It was helmed by MusicRow Producer of the Year nominee Jay Joyce.

“Leaving Nashville”                       
Songwriters: Abe Stoklasa, Donovan Woods
Year of the Dog Music (Big Yellow Dog) administered by Words & Music, Shakapublishing, administered by Downtown DLJ Songs, ASCAP
Recorded by Charles Kelley (Capitol Nashville)

Penned by Abe Stoklasa and Donovan Woods, this ode to songwriters and their community resonated up and down Music Row. “Leaving Nashville” is a journey through the highs and lows of the trade—where “If it ain’t a single, it don’t mean nothing.” But, ultimately, the song is about dedication to the music, because as Stoklasa and Woods wrote, they “ain’t never leaving Nashville.” The song was recorded by Charles Kelley. Stoklasa is also nominated for MusicRow Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year.

Songwriters: Miranda Lambert, Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally
Publishers: Sony/ATV Tree Publishing, Pink Dog Publishing, Smack Hits, GMR/Kobalt Music Group Ltd., GMR/AndersonFork In The Road Music, Kobalt Music Publishing America, Inc., Smackville Music, ASCAP, BMI
Recorded by Miranda Lambert (RCA Nashville/Vanner)

“When it hurts this good you gotta play it twice…” Miranda Lambert served up a cocktail of regret, sadness and escapism in her hit song “Vice.” Together with co-writers Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally, they crafted lyrics of simultaneous heartache and attraction: “All dressed up in a pretty black label/ Sweet salvation on a dining room table/ Waiting on me/ Where the numb meets the lonely.” The song went on to earn a Grammy nomination and her longtime collaborator Frank Liddell is nominated for MusicRow Producer of the Year.

“Wanna Be That Song”   
Songwriters: Brett Eldredge, Ross Copperman, Scooter Carusoe
Publishers: Sony/ATV Countryside, Paris Not France Music, EMI Blackwood, Rezolant, Scrambler Music, Abbotts Creek Music Two, Carnival, ASCAP, BMI
Recorded by Brett Eldredge (Atlantic Nashville)

“Every life has a soundtrack” and Brett Eldredge wants to be yours. He co-wrote these words with Scooter Carusoe and Ross Copperman, and says “Wanna Be That Song” captures who he wants to be as an artist. The poignant song describes lovers together in the “window booth at a bar,” “back pew on a Sunday” and “crowded bleachers,” and evokes emotions that “makes you dance, makes you fall/ that melody rewinds years… makes time stall.” Copperman is also nominated for Producer of the Year.


The MusicRow Awards will be presented at a private ceremony. 

See the full list of nominees. 

Winners are determined solely by MusicRow subscribers. Voting closes on Tuesday, May 30 at 5 p.m. If you do not have a subscription, you may subscribe to receive a ballot.


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Category: Awards, Featured

About the Author

Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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