2018 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.

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 May 25 at 5 p.m. If you do not have a subscription, you may subscribe to receive a ballot.

“Cry Pretty”
When Carrie Underwood was ready to release her first new music since 2015, following an injury and a change in record companies, a comeback song was in order. And when a superstar needs a heart-wrenching power ballad, they turn to The Love Junkies. Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna and Liz Rose co-wrote “Cry Pretty” with Underwood. She is the perfect vocalist for the soaring chorus and emotional delivery. The Love Junkies previously won MusicRow Song of the Year in 2015 for “Girl Crush.” Additionally, Lindsey is a reigning Song of the Year co-writer of “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” and McKenna won for “Humble and Kind” (2016) and “Stealing Kisses” (2007).

“Drunk Girl”
Songwriters Chris Janson, Scooter Carusoe and Tom Douglas offer a sincere message about the difference between a boy and a man… take a drunk girl home/ let her sleep all alone. In the wake of last year’s #metoo movement, it is a timely subject matter. The lovely piano-driven ballad is full of imagery, delivered by Janson with just the right amount of sensitivity. Douglas is a previous Song of the Year winner for “The House That Built Me” (2010).

“Life Changes”
The charm of “Life Changes” comes from the real-life details offered by Thomas Rhett, referencing everything from his major hit “Die A Happy Man,” to adopting a daughter from Uganda, and his wife Lauren’s surprise pregnancy. The sunny chorus rings true for everyone: You never know what’s gonna happen, you make your plans and you hear God laughing. Thomas Rhett co-wrote the song with father/hitmaker Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure and Ashley Gorley. It is the title track to his current album.

“Most People Are Good”
Luke Bryan continues his strong track record of offering poignant country songs relatable to the everyman with “Most People Are Good.” Songwriters David Frasier, Ed Hill and Josh Kear offer a spot-on lyric about how the world might look some days: If you just go by the nightly news, your faith in all mankind would be the first thing you lose. But the true message of their song proves the opposite: I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks, I believe most people are good. Bryan and Kear are both previous recipients of MusicRow’s Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year award.

“She Ain’t In It”
If you want a stone-cold country song about a broken heart, look no further than traditionalist hitmakers Wynn Varble and Clint Daniels. Their song, “She Ain’t In It,” fits singer Jon Pardi as perfectly as his Wranglers and belt buckle. Playing the role of a lonesome cowboy, Pardi sings, My life won’t be the same, as long as she ain’t in it. Fiddle and steel accent his twangy delivery, to create one of the countriest songs on the radio today.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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