Kip Moore, songwriters celebrate No. 1

‘More Girls Like You’ lead single from ‘Slowheart’

(L to R): Steven Lee Olsen, David Garcia, Kip Moore, Josh Miller. Photo credit: Preshias Harris

MCA Nashville artist Kip Moore was at The Hutton Hotel’s Analog on Tuesday, February 13 to celebrate with fellow songwriters of his newest Number One, “More Girls Like You.” The party, co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI, honored the song’s four writers David Garcia, Josh Miller, Steven Lee Olsen and Moore.

“More Girls Like You” is the lead single from Kip’s third studio album, Slowheart, following 2012’s Up All Night and 2015’s Wild Ones.

Kip has undeniably paid his dues on his trek to stardom. He made his first public appearance singing at a Mellow Mushroom in Valdosta, GA, and moved to Nashville in 2004. He was signed to a songwriting deal with the help of producer/songwriter Brett James. It would be a further eight years before Kip was signed to a recording contract with MCA.

“There was no Plan B”

During the media session before the award presentation, I asked Kip what he did with his career during those long eight years to keep his eyes on the prize. With a smile, he said, “It was knowing I wasn’t going to be happy doing anything else.  There was no Plan B.” He admitted, however, “It was a battle to keep one foot in front of the other.”

(L to R): BMI’s Bradley Collins, songwriters Steven Lee Olsen, David Garcia and Josh Miller, Moore and ASCAP’s Evyn Mustoe. Photo credit: Ed Rode

The four writers reminisced about the way “More Girls Like You” came about. Steven Lee Olsen (whose first No. 1 as a writer was the Grammy-nominated “Blue Ain’t Your Color” for Keith Urban) noted that when the writers got together, “something magical” happened. “We started talking and that’s how it started.”

“It started falling together fast,” added Kip. “They knew where my head was, coming back from Cost Rica!”

“Kip almost didn’t show up,” said Josh. “He was headed to the lake for some wake boarding.”  We were reminded that Kip has a passion for the water, having been something of a ‘beach bum,’ surfing in Hawaii before making the commitment to come to Nashville.

Discussing tour plans, Kip said he is joining Luke Bryan on his ‘What Makes You Country’ Tour.  “Luke has always been a gracious and nice guy,” said Kip. “I’m looking forward to touring with Luke and the Cadillac Three.”

CMA Songwriters’ Series in Europe

Kip will soon be crossing the pond for concerts in Dublin Ireland, Glasgow Scotland and London England as part of the CMA Songwriters’ Series. He’ll be joining his old friend Brett James for the European dates, along with Luke Combs, Natalie Hemby and Nicolle Galyon.  In addition to a packed U.S. tour schedule, Kip also has 2018 shows booked in Canada and Australia.

Kip’s story of his arduous journey to the top is yet another reminder to aspiring artists and songwriters that there is no such thing as ‘overnight success.’   There will always be a battle to ‘put one foot in front of the other’ as he put it. For Kip, there was no Plan B.

For tour dates and more info on Kip Moore’s new album Slowheart, go to http://www.kipmoore.net

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Preshias Harris is a music journalist and music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology 101: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at www.collegeofsongology.com Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com

Brett Young celebrates third No 1, “Like I Love You”

“We used our own money to cut the demo”

Jesse Lee and Brett Young answer questions before the No. 1 party. Photo: Preshias Harris

Big Machine Label Group’s Brett Young celebrated his third Number One at a party honoring him and co-writer Jesse Lee, Monday, February 12.  “Like I Love You” is his third chart-topper and comes just over a year since the release of his debut self-titled album.  The party was co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI.

Brett is one of only three acts in the Country music genre to achieve RIAA ‘Gold’ certification for an album released in 2017.  His breakout single, “In Case You Didn’t Know,” has already reached 3X Platinum status, making him the only debut artist since 2014 to achieve that level. He is also the only new Country artist with a 2017 song to go multi-Platinum, too. All three Number Ones are from his debut album.

Second No. 1 for Jesse Lee

Pictured (L-R): Scott Borchetta, BMI’s David Preston, Jesse Lee, Ole’s John Ozier, Brett Young, ASCAP’s Michael Martin, BMLG Records’ Jimmy Harnen and Big Machine Music’s Mike Molinar. Photo Credit: Ed Rode

Co-writer Jesse Lee was celebrating her second No. 1 as writer, following 2016’s “Peter Pan,” a hit for Kelsea Ballerini.

“Like I Loved You” spent three weeks at Number One, but its release as a single was by no means a guarantee, following the success of Brett’s two previous hits.

“My first two singles were happy love songs,” said Brett at a pre-presentation media session. “Then Jesse and I wrote this one that is really different. My songs are like my babies. A part of me is attached to that song,” he noted. “I fought for getting this song on my record. We used our own money to cut the demo.”

Speaking about the writing session that resulted in “Like I Love You,” Brett said that this was a different kind of co-write, too. “We’d never met before.  We went to lunch then came back and wrote it. That was in late 2014.”

The long road to Nashville

Both Brett Young and Jesse Lee might seem like newcomers, but as with most successful people, that isn’t really the case. At the media session, Brett noted that he’d been playing and performing for 14 years before moving to Nashville.

Jesse Lee is not new to the music business either. Signed to Atlantic Nashville in 2007, Jesse had some minor chart success as a recording artist, but then took a different path.

‘I reinvented myself and started to write’

Jesse Lee

Speaking of her early career as an artist, she said, “People didn’t want me one the radio! So I reinvented myself and started to write.  Then I realized I was getting into publishing companies because of my writing not my artist talents.”

Reminded that Nashville is often referred to as a ‘ten-year town’ when it comes to developing a career in music, Jesse laughed and said, “it’s been more than a ten-year town for me. It’s been eleven!”

Speaking about the diversity of his musical styles and interests, Brett said, “I grew up with rhythm and blues and soul music, so You will hear the soul in my music.”

Brett is about to head out on Thomas Rhett’s ‘Life Changes Tour 2018’ this spring.  Find tour updates at brettyoungmusic.com.

“it’s been more than a ten-year town for me. It’s been eleven!” Jesse Lee

Six songwriters honored at Number One party

Dan + Shay celebrate two consecutive Number Ones 

What’s better than a Number One party? A DOUBLE Number One party, and that’s what happened Tuesday January 30th for writers of two of Dan + Shay’s recent chart-toppers.  The double-header, co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI, was held at ASCAP’s Nashville HQ.

“From the Ground Up” and “How Not To” are the second and third U.S. Country Airplay chart toppers for Warner Bros. Nashville artists Dan + Shay (Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney) following 2015’s “Nothing Like You,” a cut from the album WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.  The two latest Number Ones are both cuts on OBSESSED.

The honorees for “How Not To” were songwriters Kevin Bard, Paul DiGiovanni and Adam Hambrick. Publishing honors went to Kevin Bard Music, Ole Red Cape Songs, Paulywood Music, Sony ATV Music Publishing, Red Like The Sunset Music and Universal Music.

Accepting songwriters’ awards for “From the Ground Up” were Chris DeStafano, Shay Mooney and Dan Smyers, while the publishers’ nod went to Beats and Banjos, CDS Words & Music, Shay Mooney Music, Sony ATV Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.

Inspired by grandparents’ long-lasting love

From left: Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Chris DeStafano talk during media session. Photo: Preshias Harris

At a pre-presentation media session, Dan, Shay and Chris talked about the origins of “From the Ground Up.” The idea was sparked by a very personal incident. “Driving back from my grandfather’s funeral, we ended up at [Chris] Stefano’s place,” said Dan.  “When Chris stepped outside to take a call, [Shay and I] started talking about how both our grandparents were married for 65 years. it so incredible to married for 65 Years!” It was from that discussion and family memories that the song took shape. “We knew we had something special and it was written in about 45 Minutes,” Dan added.

‘Personal moments’ shape songs

Personal life moments are often the genesis for songs, as Dan and Shay can attest. During the media session, they recalled writing “When I Prayed For You.” The song, about a soon-to-be-father praying for his child, was featured in the movie, “The Shack.”  Shay noted that it was written when he and his wife Hannah were expecting their daughter, Asher. Anticipating the birth of a child in real life added poignancy to the writing, Shay recalled.

Getting back to “From the Ground Up,” Chris DeStefano said, “It’s amazing to me to be part of a song that fans can connect with.” Chris is no stranger to chart toppers, having written or co-written Number One songs for Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Brett Eldredge, Jason Aldean and more. “I won’t ever take it for granted, being a songwriter,” he said.

Wexford, Pennsylvania, native Dan Smyers and James Shay Mooney (from Natural Dam, Arkansas) met in Nashville in December 2012 and began songwriting together. They were quickly signed to Warner/Chappell Music. The following year, their first single – “19 You + Me” – went to Country radio.  Although it never topped any chart, the song continued to sell steadily since then and has since been certified Platinum by RIAA.

Pictured (l-r): Songwriters Chris DeStefano, Paul DiGiovanni, Kevin Bard, Adam Hambrick and Dan+Shay’s Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney. Photo: Ed Rode/ASCAP

On the road with Rascal Flatts

Continue reading “Six songwriters honored at Number One party”

Garth ‘comes home’ to Nashville

Blows the roof off Bridgestone Arena

Garth Brooks will likely remember Saturday, December 9, 2017 for a number of reasons. When he and wife Trisha Yearwood picked up their mics at the afternoon press conference, he told us it was something of a homecoming for them: the first time they had played Nashville since the fundraiser following the ‘great Nashville flood’ of 2010.

Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood at press conference. Photo: Preshias Harris

As Trisha said, after three years on the road, it was pleasant to realize they didn’t have to pack a suitcase. After each of their Nashville shows, they could simply drive to their home in Goodlettsville. Garth smiled at said, “Welcome to the end of the journey.”

December 9 also marked the official announcement that Garth’s latest single, ‘Ask Me How I Know,’ reached Number One on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. It was his first Number One since 2007’s ‘More Than A Memory.’  To add poignancy, December 9, 1989, was the date that Garth reached the Number One spot for the first time with ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes.’

Oh, and Saturday was the eve of Garth and Trisha’s wedding anniversary: they were married December 10, 2005. A memorable weekend in so many ways.

Garth’s pre-show celebration

Garth Brooks on stage at Bridgestone Arena. Photo: Preshias Harris

At a backstage party prior to Saturday’s show at Bridgestone Arena, Garth and Trisha celebrated their return to Nashville following an incredible tour that shattered  every record for attendance and ticket revenue. Awards were presented to Garth, one after another, marking so many milestones in a unique career. Among his astonishing achievements: he is the best-selling solo artist in the United States with over 148 million domestic units sold, and over 160 million records sold worldwide.

He is also the only artist to have released seven albums that reached diamond status, according to RIAA. (This is an even greater achievement when you remember that he took a hiatus from recording between 2001 and 2009 to focus more fully on being with his family.)

At the pre-show party, it was also announced that Garth also tops the Nielsen BookScan chart with the Number One non-fiction book, ‘The Anthology, Part One: The First Five Years.’

Mitch Rossell at the Bridgestone. Photo: Mike Harris

And then it was showtime. A packed Bridgestone Arena was treated to a superb show that opened with a solo set from singer/songwriter Mitch Rossell who wrote Garth’s current chart-topper, ‘Ask Me How I Know.’ That song is Rossell’s first commercially released cut as a songwriter, making it a memorable night for him, too.  Rossell was followed by a set by Karyn Rochelle, a fine songwriter who co-penned ‘Red High Heels’ with Kelly Pickler.

Two+ hours of high energy

Garth at Bridgestone Arena. Photo: Preshias Harris

When Garth finally hit the stage, the sold-out crowd erupted as he roared into ‘Let’s Lay Down and Dance,’ the beginning of more than two hours of faultless high energy.  Garth is a master of handling a crowd.  At one point, without saying or singing a word, he virtually ‘conducted’ the audience like a mime.  For several minutes, he urged different sections of the crowd to compete in the volume of the noise they could produce, building to a deafening crescendo.

As he had pointed out at the press conference, he understands an audience’s desire to hear the familiar hits and he knows how to finesse the performance of lesser-known or current material into his set. He didn’t disappoint, performing a string of crowd favorites, including ‘The Thunder Roars,’ ‘Rodeo,’ ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes,’ and many more. Trisha joined him onstage with some of her own hits including ‘She’s In Love With the Boy’ and ‘Memphis.’

With all the records that Garth has already broken, he isn’t done yet.  Although the current World Tour is finally coming to an end, there’s no end in sight to his unique and remarkable career, as much a tribute to his mastery of marketing as to his amazing musical talent.  There’s more to come.

photo: facebook.com/mitchrossellofficial

Footnote: Mitch Rossell, who opened for Garth and also wrote the current Number One, may be finding his first taste of chart success  as a writer, but he is no newcomer to the music business. As he told the audience during his set, he’d been playing music and writing songs as long as he could remember. He’d been in Nashville for about five years, determined to make music his career. He looked around the packed arena and said that before these tour dates with Garth, “I was playing Tootsie’s bar at the Nashville Airport.” Aspiring artists and songwriters need to remind themselves that ‘Nashville is a five-year town’ – or maybe a ten-year town for some. Patience and perseverance win out in the end.

Garth Brooks tops charts with “Ask Me How I Know”

Begins seven-show run at Bridgestone Arena

Garth Brooks is undeniably one of the most enduring artists in Country music with a career that continues to set and break records.

This week, he is once again celebrating a chart-topper as his poignant ballad, “Ask Me How I Know,” hits Number One, landing the top spot on Billboard and Country Aircheck/Mediabase Country Airplay charts.  The track is Brooks’ 20th No. One and the first songwriting cut by newcomer Mitch Rossell. The feat also marks a full-circle moment for Brooks, as this week is the 28th anniversary of his first No. One with “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” which summited the charts on Dec. 9, 1989.

First cut for Mitch Rossell

Brooks expressed his congratulations to the team at his record label and to songwriter Rossel.  “I’m so proud of the Pearl Records team for working so hard for this No. One,” said Brooks.  “Congrats to Mitch Rossell on his first cut…so happy for you, pal!  And to country radio…four decades later, thanks for still believing. I’m humbled and very grateful.”

Brooks is on the final run of the Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood this week. He starts a seven-show run at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on December 9 to mark the end of the tour. (Personal note: I will be in the audience for the Saturday show, December 9th!)  In a little over three years, the tour has sold over 6.4 million tickets, making it the biggest North American tour in history and the biggest American tour in the world. For tickets, click here.

Six-time CMA Entertainer of the Year

Garth Brooks just won Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards for a sixth time, a first for any artist. He is also the first artist in history to receive 7 Diamond awards for the now seven albums certified by the RIAA at over 10 million album sales each and remains the #1-selling solo artist in U.S. history certified by the RIAA with over 148 million album sales. He has received every accolade the recording industry can bestow on an artist.

Brooks has been inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame and most recently, the Musicians Hall of Fame. He has also launched Inside Studio G, a weekly Facebook Live series. It airs every Monday on Garth’s Facebook page at 7:00 PM EST. You can follow him at: https://www.facebook.com/GarthBrooks, https://twitter.com/garthbrooks and http://instagram.com/garthbrooks.

November ‘Inside Track on Music Row’ posted now

Tracy Lawrence & Friends Mission Possible, Garth Brooks, LANCO and more

My column, ‘Inside Track on Music Row,’ is America’s longest-running monthly country music column, published monthly at Nashville Music Guide  That’s where you can find the November column. It is also posted at my other website, I Know Country.  Meanwhile, here’s a taste of a few items from the column…

Get ready for Tracy Lawrence’s turkey fry concert

After raising more than $135,000.00 with the music event last year, Tracy Lawrence is back with his 3rd Annual Tracy Lawrence & Friends Mission: Possible Turkey Fry Concert on November 21st at the Wildhorse Saloon, with doors opening at 6pm, following his 12th Annual Turkey Fry, all benefiting Nashville Rescue Mission.  Scheduled to appear: Luke Combs, Clay Cormier, Ben Gallaher, Halfway to Hazard, William Michael Morgan, Jamie O’Neal and host/headliner, Tracy Lawrence.  Ticket & show info at turkeyfry.org. Lawrence is gearing up for the release of his new album GOOD OLE DAYS on November 10th featuring collaborations with Jason Aldean, Brad Arnold, Big & Rich, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Easton Corbin, Craig Morgan, Dustin Lynch, Tim McGraw, Justin Moore, Kellie Pickler and Chris Young. Music and tour info at tracylawrence.com.

 Garth Brooks launches book & CDs anthology

‘The Anthology from Garth Brooks Part 1: The First Five Years’ is now available for pre-order.  Garth has launched a new website for the book: anthology.garthbrooks.com. The Anthology can also be pre-ordered at amazon.com.  Promising to be a massive 5-part anthology, Part 1 is a detailed look at the first 5 years of his career. It is told by Garth himself and those involved with the creating, recording, and promotion of the first five albums. Not only that but Garth has packaged 5 CDs inside the first book he has ever written. The 5 CDs contain music that has never been heard, songs written long before the debut album, outtakes, first takes, demos, over 150 never before seen photos, sessions charts, tracking sheets, all in a 240 page hardcover complete package written by Garth Brooks. It will be on sale November 14. Follow Garth at facebook.com/GarthBrooks and on Twitter and Instagram.

Solo-writer hit for LANCO’s Brandon Lancaster

LANCO

Songwriter/lead singer Brandon Lancaster of Sony Music Nashville’s breakout band LANCO is earning his stripes in Music City songwriter circles as the sole lyricist behind the band’s hit, “Greatest Love Story.” It has been 10 years since a country artist/writer has penned a chart topping hit alone. A look back in time to the early 2000’s reveals that the last artists able to make that claim are Taylor Swift (“Our Song”), Zac Brown (“Free”) and Jennifer Nettles’ (“Stay”).  That success has propelled Lancaster to the No. One spot on the Top 60 Country Songwriters Chart this week, based on streams, sales and airplay. “I wrote a song alone in my bedroom one night about the girl I wanted to marry, and then she actually said yes,” said Lancaster. “Now our story is resonating with people all over the country… it all feels too good to be true.”  More information on LANCO and upcoming Fall tour dates, visit LANCOMusic.com.

Plus … news about Jason Aldean’s ‘Won’t Back Down’ Las Vegas fundraiser, Billy Burnette’s book and CD, Mark Chesnutt’s Trailblazer Award, Kip Moore, David Lee Murphy, the Bluebird Café documentary and more.

Read the complete column at www.nashvillemusicguide.com or find the latest column and an archive of many previous columns at www.iknowcountry.com and check out my music Q&A book, “I Know Country!”

Brett Young gets RIAA GOLD, PLATINUM Awards

Number One single and smash hit album honored 

(L-R) EVP Big Machine Label Group/BMLG Records President Jimmy Harnen, Brett Young, Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta, Photo Credit: BMLG Records

Brett Young is collecting Gold and Platinum Awards like a seasoned veteran. I have to remind myself that he’s a relative newcomer to Nashville with, essentially, one major label album and an EP to his name.  But don’t let that fool you.  He’s proving to be a hit machine.

CMA New Artist of the Year Nominee Young’s self-titled album has been certified GOLD by the RIAA. The album’s first single, “Sleep Without You,” achieved RIAA PLATINUM status, and another single, “In Case You Didn’t Know,” snapped up a RIAA 2X PLATINUM award.

Bridgestone Arena surprise for Brett

A few days ago, Young was surprised onstage at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, where he was appearing on the last stop of Lady Antebellum’s ‘You Look Good’ world tour. Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta and EVP Big Machine Label Group/BMLG Records President Jimmy Harnen stepped on to the stage to honor the rising star with his awards in front of a cheering crowd of fans.

Michael Martin, ASCAP

Young is quick to recognize those who have been instrumental in the development of his career.  I was present at his first Number One party, held at the new FGL House, and he made a point of singling out Michael Martin, ASCAP’s Vice President who heads up Nashville Membership office. He said, “Meeting my mentor Michael Martin and his advice and wisdom is what brought me here.”

During the RIAA presentation at Bridgestone Arena, Young said, “I’m just doing what I love, so it’s cool to see this music mean something to other people too,” He added, “I’m so honored and thankful for the support of my fans, my team and Country radio for making all of it possible.”

“In Case You Didn’t Know” instantly soared up the charts, earning the title of the first Country song released in 2017 to hit PLATINUM status. The song thrived in the video format as well, landing a place in Vevo’s Top 10 Videos of 2017 (so far), surpassing 100 million views, joining the rankings with Zayn and Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and DJ Khaled.

Baseball injury leads Brett to Nashville

Brett Young happens to be one of several singers and songwriters I know personally who can attribute their decision to switch career paths from sports to music as a result of a baseball injury. Born in Anaheim, California, he went to Ole Miss on a baseball scholarship after turning down pre-draft selection by both the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Minnesota Twins.  However, his major league pitching hopes were dashed by an elbow injury and he returned to his first love: music.

The phrase “New Artist of the Year” doesn’t tell the full story of Young’s musical journey. After replacing baseball with music, he spent eight years in Los Angeles, performing and recording several albums.  But his decision to move to Nashville proved to be a wise one. He was signed to Big Machine Label Group in 2015 and his six-song self-titled EP was released in February 2016. Young co-wrote the hit single “Sleep Without You” with Justin Ebach and Kelly Archer. “In Case You Didn’t Know” followed in January 2017.  A month later, BMLG released Young’s self-titled album, produced by the legendary Dan Huff.  A third single, “Like I Loved You” was released to country radio in July.

A baseball injury that probably seemed like a career killer at the time proved to be the catalyst to a successful new career, GOLD and PLATINUM awards, a nod from the CMA and millions of fans.

You can find tour dates and music at Brett Young’s official website here and follow him on Facebook here.

Country’s ‘Gentle Giant’ passes

Don Williams, May 27, 1939 – September 8, 2017

The world of country music will miss Don Williams. I know I will.

Don Williams. Photo: don-williams.com

His unique voice, both deep and mellow; his endearing smile and winning personality; even his ‘scrunched-up’ signature hat, so different from the pristine Stetsons worn by many of his contemporaries.

Don truly was the ‘Gentle Giant’ who gave us seventeen Number One country chart toppers, along with many other hits and numerous albums. His style was so distinctive because, in a way, his subtle, laid-back delivery differed from most of the sounds coming out of Music City back in the 70s.

Signed by ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement

Although the Floydada, Texas, native had been singing and playing throughout his childhood and teenage years – allegedly winning an alarm clock in a talent contest at the age of three – his break came when he moved to Nashville and secured a songwriting deal with legendary music publisher and songwriter ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement. Clement later signed Williams to a recording contract and the chart hits began with “The Shelter of Your Eyes.”

His first Number One was 1974’s “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me,” and from that date through 1991, every one of his singles would make the Billboard Country Top 40 chart. He became an international star: he was popular in England at a time when most radio listeners could only name Jim Reeves and Dolly Parton as country artists.  Hits such as “Tulsa Time,” “It Must Be Love” and “She Never Knew Me” established him as a consistent presence on stage and on the radio. However, Williams’ popularity also got him cast on the big screen in “W.W. and The Dixie Dancekings” and “Smokey and the Bandit II.”

“I Believe In You”

His most memorable – and most iconic – song was recorded in 1980: “I Believe in You.”  His eleventh Number One on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, it was also a crossover hit peaking at number 24 in Billboard’s pop charts. To this day, it has remained a well-loved romantic ballad, popular across succeeding generations. The song was written by Roger Cook and Sam Hogin.  Whenever I see Roger performing at Writers’ Nights around Nashville, he only has to sing: “I don’t believe in…” for the crowd to start cheering, whistling and applauding before he even finishes the first line.  (On a sidebar, Roger was a popular recording artist in his own right back in his native England. His voice has matured to become similar to Don’s and I’m guessing Roger sang the demo that Don and his A&R team recognized immediately as hit material for Don.)

Don continued to be a major crowd-pleaser, touring and performing for sell-out crowds, even after radio programmers had decided to no longer put his songs in the ‘add’ column. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.  His final performance was in 2016. He said, “It’s time to hang up my hat and enjoy some quiet time at home.”  Don passed away September 8, 2017 in Mobile, Alabama.

More about Don at his official website.

Rascal Flatts celebrate 17th Number One

“Yours If You Want It” latest chart topper

(L to R) Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney at the Number One party. Photo: Preshias Harris

Rascal Flatts chalked up their seventeenth Number One. Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney were on hand to celebrate at a party hosted by BMI in Nashville, Thursday, August 17.

“Yours If You Want It” made it to the top of Billboard and Country Aircheck/Mediabase Country Airplay charts. Adding to the trio’s kudos, the song marked their second back-to-back chart-topper, following their summer anthem, “I Like The Sound of That.”

‘Bittersweet’ celebration

“Yours If You Want It” was written by Jonathan Singleton and Andrew Dorff.  It was a bittersweet celebration as Dorff sadly passed away at the age of 40 last December.  The song was released to radio the following month and members of Rascal Flatts felt a sense of determination to give Dorff a posthumous Number One.  Dorf had previously co-written hits for Kenny Chesney (“Save It For A Rainy Day”) and Blake Shelton (“Neon Light”) and others.

In an earlier statement, Joe DeMarcus told Rolling Stone, “We’ve been working really hard and we’re very proud of this track and what’s more, the late Andrew Dorff is a writer on it, and we are so honored to be a small part of making sure his legacy lives on. We have a special angel watching over it, for sure.”

At the Number One party, Joe Don Rooney described the song as “Incredible, first and foremost.” He added, “There’s a very powerful story behind the song. Everything that Rascal Flatts is about is in that song.”

Gary Le Vox agreed, adding, “The lyrics and the story are amazing.”

Rascal Flatts also announced that their new single, “Back To Us,” will impact Country radio Monday, August 21. The song, co-written by Cary Barlowe, David Hodges and Josh Thompson, is the title track from the trio’s tenth studio album, BACK TO US.

Las Vegas residency in October

Rascal Flatts are gearing up to headline a limited Las Vegas residency. Titled ‘Night To Shine,’ the show, presented by SiriusXM, will take over the Venetian Theatre at The Venetian, October 6 – 21.  Check ticket availability for the Venetian shows here.

At the Number One party, a smiling Gary LeVox said, “We’re really looking forward to the Venetian residency.” The trio has been touring almost non-stop, racking up more than ten million tickets sold. The Las Vegas residency will give them a well-earned opportunity to stay in one place, if only for a few weeks.

As the best-selling country vocal group of the past decade, Rascal Flatts has sold over 23.4 million albums, over 33.7 million digital downloads worldwide, as well as earning over 40 trophies from the ACA, ACM, AMA, CMA, People’s Choice and more.

Read more at Rascal Flatts’ website.

Triple Number One party for Aldean and songwriters

Celebrating three Number Ones from latest album

It was a songwriters’ night with a difference: each of the featured writers on stage was a co-writer of a Number One hit for Jason Aldean from his album, THEY DON’T KNOW. The event also marked some ‘firsts’ for some of the writers.

First row (L to R): Deric Ruttan, Brian Kelly, Tyler Hubbard, Jason Aldean, Josh Thompson, Michael Knox / Second Row (L to R): Wendell Mobley, Jimmy Robbins, Tony Martin, Brad Martin, Jordan Schmidt, Jerry Flowers, Brett Warren
Photo Credit: Steve Lowry

Two-time and reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean took over Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon August 2nd to celebrate each single off his seventh studio album THEY DON’T KNOW reaching No. One. Marking 19 career chart-toppers, Aldean gathered alongside friends and family to perform “Lights Come On,” “A Little More Summertime” and “Any Ol’ Barstool” with each of the tracks’ songwriters. For the event, fans were invited to Lower Broadway’s famed venue, which is the same place Aldean played the showcase that landed him his record deal with Broken Bow Records.

Lights Come On

Serving as the lead single and No. One hit from THEY DON’T KNOW, Jason Aldean performed the smash hit “Lights Come On,” sharing vocals with songwriters Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley (BMI) and Tyler Hubbard (BMI), as well as Jimmy Robbins (ASCAP), Jordan Schmidt (ASCAP), Brad Warren (BMI) and Brett Warren (BMI). The hit serves as Schmidt’s first No. One as a songwriter as well as the first for Kelley and Hubbard’s Tree Vibez Music publishing company.

A Little More Summertime

Following suit, Aldean was joined on stage by songwriters Jerry Flowers (ASCAP), Tony Martin (BMI) and Wendell Mobley (BMI) to perform a stripped-down version of THEY DON’T KNOW’s second No. One single, “A Little More Summertime.”

Any Ol’ Barstool

To close out the round, Aldean invited Deric Ruttan (ASCAP) and Josh Thompson (BMI) to the stage who serve as the songwriters behind his “Any Ol’ Barstool.” It is the third consecutive chart topper off his seventh studio album. Aldean’s 19th career No. One serves as Thompson’s first No. One as a songwriter.

Aldean’s most recent album, THEY DON’T KNOW, follows each album release earning PLATINUM certification or better, tallying more than 15 million total album sales and 19 No. One hits. The longevity of his career reached new heights as he debuted at the No. One position on Billboard’s all-genre Top 200 Album chart for the third consecutive time. In addition to his THEY DON’T KNOW TOUR, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is showcasing a special exhibit titled  ‘Jason Aldean: Asphalt Cowboy,’ commemorating his wide-open sound that has been one of the defining influences on today’s Country Music. For more information and for a full list of upcoming tour dates, visit www.jasonaldean.com.

Information provided by the Green Room, Nashville.