Tuesday, August 20
The Family Behind the Songs: Brad Clawson, Rodney Clawson, and Nicolle Galyon
American Currents Concert Series
Billboard magazine recently carried the headline: “Clawson, Clawson & Galyon: Small Family Makes Big Impact on Country Charts.”
Brad Clawson; his father, Rodney Clawson; and Rodney’s wife, Nicolle Galyon, have established themselves as hit-making songwriters in Nashville.
In the 1990s, Rodney Clawson began a slow transition from farming in Gruver, Texas, to songwriting in Nashville. He has written #1 songs by Jason Aldean (“Burnin’ It Down”), George Strait (“I Saw God Today”), Luke Bryan (“Drunk on You”), Blake Shelton (“Sure Be Cool If You Did”), and Florida Georgia Line (“Dirt”).
In 2012, Galyon, from tiny Sterling, Kansas, competed on NBC’s The Voice. The following year, Miranda Lambert recorded Galyon’s “We Were Us” as a duet with Keith Urban, and the song went to #1. Then, in 2014, Lambert’s “Automatic,” co-written by Galyon, rose to the Top Five, and won the Academy of Country Music’s award for Song of the Year. In 2018, Galyon continued to have the touch as a songwriter. One of her co-writes, “Tequila,” was a smash for Dan + Shay in both pop and country, and Galyon joined forces with Cuban-American pop singer Camila Cabello to write “Consequences.” Galyon also had a hand in writing “Female” and “Coming Home,” hits for Keith Urban.
Brad Clawson, the family’s junior tunesmith, is already making his own noise. “Up Down,” a song he co-wrote, was a major country hit in 2018 for Morgan Wallen, with Florida Georgia Line. Clawson was raised in Gruver. In high school, Brad played drums in the marching band and kept time for local rock groups when he wasn’t on the field. In 2005 he came to live in the Nashville area, enrolling in college at Middle Tennessee State University. He picked up guitar skills in jam sessions with college roommates and began writing songs. Ashley Gorley, one of the most successful writers in the country music field, saw Brad’s potential and signed him to Gorley’s thriving music publishing company.
For the most part, Brad Clawson, Rodney Clawson, and Nicolle Galyon do not write with one another. The family members are featured side-by-side in the museum exhibition American Currents: The Music of 2018. As part of the “American Currents Concert Series,” a collection of one-of-a-kind shows, they will share the stage of the CMA Theater and take turns presenting original songs.
Tuesday, August 20