Let The Music Play: Luke Combs, Thomas Rhett, Ashley Gorley Among CMA Triple Play Winners

Pictured (L-R): Troy Tomlinson, Jesse Frasure, Thomas Rhett, Luke Combs, Josh Kear, Nicolle Galyon, Josh Osborne, Ashley Gorley, Chase McGill, Jody Williams, Sarah Trahern. Photo: Electric Machine/CMA

“This one is like the Super Bowl for us,” said Jesse Frasure, one of 10 winners this year at the CMA Triple Play Awards, which honors writers for having penned three No. 1 songs within a 12-month period based on the Country Aircheck, Billboard Country Airplay and Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. The event was held Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works.

Frasure was honored for co-writing three No. 1 hits for Thomas Rhett, including “Unforgettable,” “”Marry Me,” and “Life Changes.”

“It doesn’t matter how hard you work, everything has to line up for this one to happen,” Frasure said, and it would be a familiar refrain throughout the afternoon awards ceremony.

Nicolle Galyon was also accepting her very first Triple Play Award, for penning “All The Pretty Girls,” “Tequila,” and “Coming Home.”

“I don’t even like tequila,” she quipped, before thanking her publishing home Warner/Chappell. “I want to thank [husband and fellow writer] Rodney Clawson. Now I know what it looks like. Thank you for being such a champion for me. A lot of people like to point out that I’m the only woman up here, but I was thinking today how I think the really cool story about that is that I’ve written I think with all the men who are winning this award today, and I’ve never been treated with anything but encouragement, like a sister. I’ve been empowered, and respected by all of my brothers in this business. I think that’s a story we don’t hear enough. I’m proud of this community, how we all cheer for each other, brothers and sisters alike.

“This has made me think about how when you come to Nashville and you want to be a songwriter, everyone tells you that you are going to hear the word ‘no’ a million times. But what no one told me about was this word called ‘almost,’ which to me has had more of an impact on my career and my character and my journey. Things like, ‘This almost got cut,’ or ‘It almost went No. 1.’ Here I am on the other side of a lot of ‘almosts’ that have turned into yeses, and I can’t help but think that you write 1500 songs and the difference in getting one of these and not getting one of these is 20 spins. I think in this moment, I feel like this is very fragile, because there is no amount of talent, or hard work, or hustle, that turns that ‘almost’ into a ‘yes.’ It’s God and it’s either meant to be or not and I’ll never wrap my mind around why this was meant to be for me, so thank you and congratulations to all the other winners.”

CMA CEO Sarah Trahern and Sony/ATV’s Troy Tomlinson were also on hand to honor the writers. As each writer was feted, video clips were shown, revealing aspiring musicians covering the hit songs of the day.

Luke Combs was honored with his first CMA Triple Play award, for his work in co-writing his own chart-toppers “Hurricane,” “When It Rains It Pours,” and “One Number Away.” Dan + Shay showed up in the various covers clips shown, offering a snippet of an acoustic version of “Hurricane.”

“I’m Luke by the way,” Combs greeted the audience. “I probably look like the guy who changes your oil, but I’m not.

“This is pretty wild. This is definitely something that me and my team worked really hard to try and accomplish. So I say thanks to everybody, my songwriting buddies, everyone in this room who works with me.”

Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard was among the honorees, earning his second Triple Play Award (“Meant To Be”/”You Make It Easy”/”Simple”). He was not in attendance. Josh Kear collected his fourth Triple Play Award, for penning “God, Your Mama, and Me,” “Most People Are Good,” and “Woman, Amen.”

Shane McAnally, who was not in attendance (he is currently working as part of the upcoming television show Songland), was honored with his eighth CMA Triple Play award. He has had 38 No. 1 hits to date. He penned “Written In The Sand,” “Marry Me,” and “Get Along.”

Chase McGill collected his first Triple Play Award (“Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset”/”Break Up In The End”/”Lose It”), while Josh Osborne picked up his fourth (“Drinkin’ Problem”/”All The Pretty Girls”/” Get Along”).

Thomas Rhett was on hand to accept his second Triple Play Award, for his work in writing his own hits “Unforgettable,” “Marry Me,” and “Life Changes.”

“I’m so grateful to be part of Nashville’s country songwriting community. There are so many freakin’ talented people. This award means the world. Just like everyone on this list, I feel like we write songs about what we know. “ He thanked God, his family and his management and label teams.

Ashley Gorley, the most-awarded Triple Play recipient, collected his 12th Triple Play honor. In 2018, he had nine No. 1 songs in a 12-month period, repeating his 2017 total. This year he was honored for penning “Fix A Drink,” “Marry Me,” and “Life Changes.”

“Country music in Nashville is a unique thing…it’s not just about making up and breaking up, it’s about tequila, it’s about a body like a back road, it’s about scratch-off tickets, it can be about the way you walk, the way you talk, and there’s so much subject matter that we get to cover as writers because you’ve all been through that,” Gorley said.

In addition to the special performance, $3 of each ticket sold benefited CMA’s philanthropic arm, the CMA Foundation, which is committed to improving and sustaining high-quality music education programs across the country.


Pictured (L-R): Josh Osborne, Nicolle Galyon, Ashley Gorley, Sarah Trahern, Josh Kear, Chase McGill, Luke Combs. Photo: Electric Machine/CMA


Pictured (L-R): Nicolle Galyon, Josh Kear, Luke Combs, Josh Osborne, Chase McGill, Ashley Gorley. Photo: Electric Machine/CMA

The 10th annual CMA Triple Play Awards recipients were recognized for the following:

Luke Combs
“When It Rains It Pours”
“One Number Away”

Jesse Frasure
“Unforgettable,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Marry Me,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Life Changes,” recorded by Thomas Rhett

Nicolle Galyon
“All the Pretty Girls,” recorded by Kenny Chesney
“Tequila,” recorded by Dan + Shay
“Coming Home,” recorded by Keith Urban ft. Julia Michaels

Ashley Gorley
“Fix A Drink,” recorded by Chris Janson
“Marry Me,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Life Changes,” recorded by Thomas Rhett

Tyler Hubbard
“Meant to Be,” recorded by Bebe Rexha ft. Florida Georgia Line
“You Make It Easy,” recorded by Jason Aldean
“Simple,” recorded by Florida Georgia Line

Josh Kear
“God, Your Mama, And Me,” recorded by Florida Georgia Line ft. Backstreet Boys
“Most People Are Good,” recorded by Luke Bryan
“Woman, Amen,” recorded by Dierks Bentley

Shane McAnally
“Written in the Sand,” recorded by Old Dominion
“Marry Me,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Get Along,” recorded by Kenny Chesney

Chase McGill
“Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset,” recorded by Luke Bryan
“Break Up in the End,” recorded by Cole Swindell
“Lose It,” recorded by Kane Brown

Josh Osborne
“Drinkin’ Problem,” recorded by Midland
“All the Pretty Girls,” recorded by Kenny Chesney
“Get Along,” recorded by Kenny Chesney

Thomas Rhett
“Marry Me”
“Life Changes”


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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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