Following the announcement of this year’s nominees for the 35th annual MusicRow Awards, we take a closer look at the Song of the Year category.
The nominees honor Nashville writers and publishers on the craft of songwriting, not necessarily chart performance, during the eligibility period of June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023.
This year’s winners will be announced online on all MusicRow platforms on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Presenting Sponsor of the 2023 MusicRow Awards is City National Bank.
Winners are determined solely by MusicRow Magazine subscribers. Voting is now open and closes on Aug. 18 at 5:00 p.m.
To receive a ballot to vote in the MusicRow Awards, become a MusicRow subscriber here.
“’98 Braves” is a unique song that appears on Morgan Wallen’s third studio album One Thing At A Time. The tune, written by John Byron, Josh Miller and Travis Wood, recalls a 1998 baseball game when the San Diego Padres beat the Atlanta Braves. The songwriters compare the heartbreaking loss to a relationship that almost worked, but didn’t. Wallen communicates it perfectly, singing, “We swung for the fences and came up short. Yea, you win some and lose some, it ain’t always home runs and that’s just the way life plays. If we were a team and love was a game, we’d been the ‘98 Braves.”
“Light On In The Kitchen”
Ashley McBryde’s single “Light On In The Kitchen” debuted to critical acclaim earlier this year. The tune, written by McBryde with Connie Harrington and Jessi Alexander, celebrates the warm glow shared across homes around the world, a symbol of affection signaling that someone may be missing tonight, but thoughts of them are present. In the song, McBryde retells comforting advice she’s heard, such as, “Honey trust yourself, you better love yourself cause ‘till you do, you ain’t no good for anybody else… bless your heart, you’ll need someone to listen. That’s why I leave a light on in the kitchen.”
Old Dominion impressed earlier this year with “Memory Lane.” The chart-topping tune was written by the band’s Matthew Ramsey, Brad Tursi and Trevor Rosen alongside Jessie Jo Dillon, and elicits nostalgia for life’s best moments. “If I could buy a house on memory lane, I’d put my money down and sign my name,” Ramsey sings in the song’s opening line. “Memory Lane” served as the title track for an 8-song EP that started a new chapter of great music for the award-winning band.
“Standing Room Only”
With “Standing Room Only,” Tim McGraw gives a heartfelt examination of what it means to truly live life fully. Written by Craig Wiseman, Tommy Cecil and Patrick Murphy, the tune is the title track to McGraw’s upcoming album. It quickly resonated with fans, eliciting a similar reaction to that of McGraw’s titanic “Live Like You Were Dying.” The country crooner sings that he wants to, “Start forgivin’ and start forgettin’, be somebody that’s worth rememberin’. Live a life so when I die there’s standing room only.”
“Tennessee Orange” launched Megan Moroney’s career into stardom. Moroney co-wrote the tune with Ben Williams, David Fanning and Paul Jenkins, and her independent release of the track made waves on social media with its lyrics about a Georgia girl falling in love with a Tennessee boy. “He ain’t from where we’re from but he feels like home,” Moroney sings, “In Georgia they call it a sin, I’m wearing Tennessee orange for him.” After being sent to country radio as Moroney’s debut single, “Tennessee Orange” hit No. 1 on the charts in June. It appears on her major label debut album Lucky, released in May.
“Wait In The Truck”
Hardy and Lainey Wilson made waves late last year with “Wait In The Truck,” a murder ballad about an abused woman being avenged. Co-written by Michael Hardy, Hunter Phelps, Jordan Schmidt and Renee Blair, “Wait In The Truck” features Hardy singing verses about finding a scared woman out in a storm, taking her to the home she was escaping and killing her abuser. In the chorus, Wilson sings, “I never thought my day of justice would come from a judge under a seat, but I knew right then I’d never get hit again when he said to me…wait in the truck.” The RIAA Platinum certified bombshell topped the Mediabase country chart and won multiple ACM Awards.
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