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.

Thomas Rhett’s ‘Craving You’ single tops Airplay charts

Dave Barnes and Julian Bunetta write Rhett’s 8th Number One

Thomas Rhett

Congrats to Thomas Rhett for his single “Craving You” hitting Number One on both the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase charts, sky-rocketing to the top in just 15 weeks as the fastest-rising song of his career so far.

And, of course, special congrats to the song’s writers, Dave Barnes and Julian Bunetta!  Dave’s other songwriting credits include tracks recorded by Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton and Billy Currington. He is also a recording artist with nine studio albums to his name. Julian has cuts on artists as varied as Harry Styles, One Direction and Little Big Town.

Julian Bunetta
Dave Barnes

Second Number One this year

“Craving You” (featuring Maren Morris) marks Rhett’s second Number One this year and the eighth of his career. It is the lead single from his upcoming third album due later this year. Rhett is continuing his HOME TEAM TOUR. After drawing capacity crowds overseas last year, he returns with plans to go back to Europe while also making his debut headlining run in Canada in addition to US dates. It’s one more success for Rhett who was named ACM Awards Male Vocalist of the Year.

For more information on new music and for a full list of upcoming tour dates, visit Rhett’s website. And be sure to check out the really creative music video for “Craving You,” designed to look like a movie trailer.

Brett Young celebrates new Number One

First ‘Number One’ for three co-writers

It’s always a great day for me when I can celebrate songwriters’ success, and nothing says ‘success’ like a Number One party.  When it’s a writer’s first-ever Number One, that’s an even greater thrill.

On Monday, July 17, Nashville’s music community showed up at FGL House at a party co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI to acclaim Brett Young’s second consecutive Number One hit, the Platinum-certified “In Case You Didn’t Know.” Brett was on hand to celebrate with his three co-writers, for whom this song was their first chart-topper.

Kyle Schlienger (ASCAP), Tyler Reeve (BMI) and Trent Tomlinson (BMI) had apparently gotten together ‘south of the border’ to pen the hit with Brett.

Pictured (L-R): Kyle Schlienger, Brett Young, Tyler Reeve, Trent Tomlinson. Photo: ASCAP

“In 2015, I asked these guys to come to Puerto Vallarta with me to write some songs,” explained Brett. “I was lucky enough that they agreed even though they didn’t know me well. But who passes up a free trip to Mexico? We knew we had something special with ‘In Case You Didn’t Know’ from the start, but I’m so thankful for how this song continues to change my life.”

Song’s ‘Making Of’ video shown

At the party, we saw a video that had been recorded during their songwriting retreat, showing how the song developed from the original concept.  For novice songwriters attending the Number One party, it was a fascinating opportunity to watch ‘behind the scenes’ as the four guys collaborated on the song’s creation. If you are a ‘rookie’ songwriter and, even if a hit recording artist isn’t likely to ask you to join him on an expenses-paid trip to the beach, it certainly was an inspiration to see how hard work and persistence can pay off in the long run.

The song ultimately landed at No. 1 across multiple platforms: Mediabase and Billboard Charts, Sirius XM’s The Highway, Vevo Country Chart for six consecutive weeks and No. 1 CMT Hot 20 Chart for two consecutive weeks. With “In Case You Didn’t Know,” Brett is also currently nominated for a Teen Choice Award in the Choice Country Song category and fans can vote here

For additional information and a full list of tour dates, including stops on Lady Antebellum’s YOU LOOK GOOD WORLD TOUR, visit Brett’s website.

Michael Ray celebrates Number One again

Michael Ray, songwriters, honored at Number One party

Once again, Atlantic/WEA’s Michael Ray celebrated another Number One, for ‘Think A Little Less.’ Here is Michael pictured with the writers. Pictured (l-r) are Thomas Rhett, Ray, Jimmy Robbins and Barry Dean. Not pictured was the fourth writer – ASCAP’s Jon Nite. This makes the second number one single from Michael’s debut self-titled album. His summer touring dates are full and he has a new single, ‘Get To You,’ that was released a few days ago. It’s going to be a grrrreat summer for this Eustis Florida native, who now calls Nashville home.

You can find Michael’s tour schedule and catch the official video for ‘Get To You’ here.

Cole Swindell, Blake Shelton celebrate Number Ones

6th Number One for Cole Swindell

Cole Swindell cebrates with co-writers and execs from ASCAP, BMI, label and song publishers. Photo credit: Preshias

Warner Bros Nashville threw a Number One party for one of their ‘Golden Boys.’ Cole Swindell is basking in the glow of his 6th Number One single, “Middle Of A Memory,” written by Swindell, Ashley Gorley and Zach Crowell. Cole thanked the standing room only crowd for all they have done to get him to this stage in his career and making his dreams come true.

…and Blake Shelton’s 23rd

Blake celebrates another Number One. Photo credit: Lindsey Sipes

Another Warner Bros Nashville “Golden Boy,” Blake Shelton, celebrates another Number One “With A Guy With A Girl.” The song was written by Bryan Simpson and Ashley Gorley. This makes Blake’s 23rd Number One, if I counted right. Trivia Note: Blake had 17 consecutive number one records, which went down in the music history books.

LOCASH have plenty to celebrate

A Number One, new tour and an addition to the family for Preston

Reviver Records super duo LOCASH (Chris Lucas and Preston Brust) is keepin’ them coming with a party for their new Number One, ‘I Know Somebody’ from their album THE FIGHTERS. And, unlike most Number One parties, they opened the celebration to the public! It was SO CRAZY & FUN! It was total mayhem at Valentine Saloon on Nashville’s Broadway. David Preston represented BMI and Michael Martin represented ASCAP for hosting duties.

LOCASH Photo credit: Jake Harsh

The songwriters themselves who were helping them celebrate included Rhett Akins (His 26th Number One… but I counted 27), Ross Copperman (I Know Somebody was his 15th Number One song) and Jeremy Stover for whom this was his 4th Number One song. Stover has written for and produced Justin Moore, Emerson Drive, Lonestar and Jack Ingram.

The party didn’t stop there: the dynamic duo are celebrating their upcoming summer tour. When things calm down in September, Preston and his wife Caitlyn will adding another set of footsteps in their house. Busy, busy, busy we are! Chris and Preston are both excited about their upcoming appearance on NBC’s Today Show on March 16th. Good exposure to get them ready for the ACM Awards on April 2nd that will broadcast LIVE from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vega$ at 7pm CST.

ACM nomination for LOCASH

Adding to the kudos were their nominated for the ACM “Vocal Duo or Group of the Year’ ACM Awards®. This is their first industry nominated award for the boys. Preston Burst said, “We have dreamt of this day for so many minutes and so many miles.”

I think this is going to be a fabo year for the boys who are making the noise!

“I Met A Girl” is a Musical Milestone for William Michael Morgan

His first number one song, four years in the making

Congrats to Warner Bros / WMN’s newcomer William Michael Morgan and the co-writers Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally and Trevor Rosen who were feted on January 30th for Morgan’s Number One hit “I Met A Girl.” The Number One party, held at South, was co-hosted by ASCAP and First Tennessee Bank.  The song, produced by Scott Hendricks (Blake Shelton) and Jimmy Ritchey (Mark Chesnutt), is from Morgan’s debut studio album, VINYL (Warner Bros Nashville) which was released on September 30, 2016, following his self-titled EP.

Photo Credit: Preshias Harris
Left to Right: Shane McAnally, William Michael Morgan and Trevor Rosen. Not pictured is Sam Hunt.

“I Met a Girl” is the debut single and first number one record for Morgan and has sold over 300,000 copies since its radio add date of August 24, 2015. It was also included on his debut studio album, “Vinyl,” which was released on September 30, 2016, following his self-titled EP.

During the media interviews prior to the Number One celebration, Shane said that they’d written the song about four years ago. Morgan said, “We hung on to it and hung on to it.” He recalled. “Once it was recorded, we kept listening to it.  We believed it was just a wonderful song all around.”

The lyrics have special meaning for Morgan

The song has a poignant meaning for Morgan. Thinking back to the birth of his daughter and meeting his fiancé brings a whole new meaning to the song for him. “God was moving the chess pieces around,” he said. “We found out the song was Number One on the same day as the album ‘Vinyl’ came out.”

“I Met A Girl” Number One Party

It seems the song has resonated with listeners, too. “I Met A Girl” spent 52 weeks on the charts and has reached an airplay audience of 1.1 billion. The song has also been streamed 25 million times.

The song has received positive reviews from music critics. Taste of Country® awarded “I Met a Girl” with the Taste of Country® Critic’s Pick, saying that the single is “a warm country love song that slows time” adding that “strong songwriting and Morgan’s smooth baritone make the song tough to resist.” So hit replay! More at www.williammichaelmorgan.com.

It takes perseverance

Personal note: Aspiring artists and songwriters should take note of Morgan’s progress along the road to chart success. Around four years elapsed between the time the song was written and the afternoon he stood up to receive his Number One award.  If you expect fame and fortune within months of arriving in Music City, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  It takes perseverance and strength of character to keep improving your musical skills, perfecting your stagecraft, building your network of industry contacts and learning from your co-writers.  When the real opportunity appears, you’ll be ready to grasp it!

Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban show us how it’s done

Carrie and Keith overcome setbacks, never lose sight of ‘The Prize’

Two country artists have chalked up remarkable career achievements in the past few days. And both can serve as an inspiration to those who are just beginning a career in music.

Carrie Underwood

First of all, congrats and kudos to Carrie Underwood who is celebrating a major career milestone. The CMA Vocalist of the Year has scored her 25th Number One with her current single, “Dirty Laundry.” The song marks Underwood’s 22nd chart-topping hit on country radio, but when you add in a Billboard Hot 100 Number One (“Inside Your Heaven”) plus her two Number Ones on the Hot Country Songs chart (“Something Bad” and “Something in the Water”), she has scored a total of twenty five chart toppers.

Meanwhile, a few days ago, Keith Urban made certain of a spot in music history when his single, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” simultaneously topped FOUR major charts. The song was Number One on Billboard Country Airplay, Hot Country Songs, Country Digital Song Sales and Country Streaming charts.

Keith Urban. Photo credit: American Idol

Urban is only the third artist to achieve this feat, following Jason Aldean (“Burning It Down,” 2014) and Luke Bryan (Play It Again,” 2014). “Blue Ain’t Your Color” is Urban’s twenty-first Billbioard Country Airplay Number One.

It might seem that both Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban are just plain lucky but that is definitely NOT the case. Both artists had to overcome disappointments and setbacks before they achieved the success they enjoy today.

Record deal falls apart

Underwood was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where her father worked in a sawmill and her mom taught elementary school. At age 14, she went to Nashville and auditioned for Capitol Records. She must have felt she was on the way to fame when Capitol prepared to sign her to the label. But it wasn’t to be: the label’s management changed and, as a result, the plans for her record deal were scrapped.

That might have been enough to discourage most young artists, but not Underwood. Looking back on that roadblock, she said, “I honestly think it’s a lot better that nothing came out of it now, because I wouldn’t have been ready then. Everything has a way of working out.”

She went back to Oklahoma, finished her high school and college education, graduating magna cum laude from Northeastern State University with a degree in mass communication. But music was still her passion and, having polished her musical experience over the years, she auditioned for American Idol and went on to win Season Four, becoming one of the most successful artists, not only in Idol history but also in all of country music.

Urban makes the big move

Keith Urban found a measure of ‘local’ success in Australia after moving there from his native New Zealand. Like Underwood, Urban saw talent contests as a way to further his career, competing in Australia’s ‘New Faces’ show. In 1992, he made the momentous decision to leave behind that local fame and move to the USA where he was a virtual unknown, finding work as a session guitarist and then starting a band, The Ranch, that had some success on Capitol Records. Meanwhile, he was becoming an increasingly successful songwriter, scoring cuts on Toby Keith and 4 Runner, among others.

His solo career took off with a self-titled album that produced his first Number One single with more to follow. But success took its toll and Urban became addicted to cocaine. For many artists, this would be the beginning of the end; the start of a spiral into obscurity.

However, Urban found the strength to fight and overcome his addiction with the help of a rehab program and the support of a loving wife and family. He has gone on to become one of country music’s most consistently successful stars with a string of Number One hits and a mantle full of industry awards. Echoing his own career-launching participation in talent shows, he has served as judge on The Voice in Australia and American Idol in the USA.

Setbacks are opportunities in disguise

In many ways, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban serve as inspirations for aspiring artists and songwriters. In Underwood’s case, she saw the collapse of her initial record deal not as a career-killer but as an opportunity to go back and work on improving her skills as a performer so she was truly ready for the big time when the Idol opportunity came her way. Urban had the strength of faith in his abilities to leave his homeland and start over in the USA… and then virtually re-start again after beating his addiction.

Both had the perseverance to keep their eyes on the prize. Your music career will inevitably face obstacles but if you see each obstacle as a learning experience rather than as a career-ender, you will be better prepared when the next opportunity presents itself. Make a pledge to yourself to persevere, to develop ‘staying power,’ to persist in achieving your goal of a rewarding career in music. Remind yourself that all of today’s top stars faced times of despair and disappointment. But they persevered until they achieved the success of which they never lost sight!

Protect your online presence!

Check out carrieunderwoodofficial.com – and note the ‘official’ in the address if you want to reach the ‘correct’ Carrie! And also check out keithurban.net, because the site named ‘keithurban.com’ belongs to somebody selling paintings, not to ‘our’ Keith. As a further object lesson, let these situations remind you of the importance of protecting your name and establishing ‘official’ websites and social media before anyone has the chance to beat you to it!

 

Luke Bryan: A guy who never gives up

Perseverance pays off with 7 more Number Ones

Luke Bryan celebrates seven Number Ones. Picture Credit: Preshias Harris
Luke Bryan celebrates seven Number Ones. Picture Credit: Preshias Harris

Luke Bryan is one of Country music’s nicest guys and he has achieved his much-deserved success largely as a result of his remarkable perseverance in the face of roadblocks and personal tragedies that would dishearten and derail most people from their chosen career path.

When I wrote “The ‘P’ Pod: Seven characteristics shared by the most successful people in the music industry,” I singled out Luke as someone who has personified those seven characteristics: Patience, Presence, Passion, Perseverance, Proactivity, Positive and Prayer.

He should be a role model to anyone who has the goal of becoming a singer-songwriter. I’ll include an excerpt below, after a quick recap of Luke’s recent celebration as his amazing career continues on its well-deserved upward path.

On October 24, he stepped onto the stage of the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame for a “Beyond The Stadium Lights” party to celebrate SEVEN Number One hits. He shared the stage with the writers of the hit songs, being sure to emphasize that this event was ‘all about the writers’ who created these amazing songs. In performing the seven songs, Bryan and the songs’ writers took turns singing the verses and choruses, obviously having a heck of a good time together at this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Luke with 'Home Alone Tonight' writers Tommy Cecil, Jaida Dreyer, Jody Stevens and Cole Taylor. Photo credit: Mike Harris
Luke with ‘Home Alone Tonight’ writers Tommy Cecil, Jaida Dreyer, Jody Stevens and Cole Taylor. Photo credit: Mike Harris

The seven Number Ones, with writer credits) are: ‘Home Alone Tonight’ (Tommy Cecil, Jaida Dreyer, Jody Stevens, Cole Taylor); ‘Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day’ (Luke Bryan, Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, Ben Hayslip); ‘I See You’ (Luke Bryan, Ashley Gorley, Luke Laird); ‘Kick the Dust Up’ (Dallas Davidson, Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley); ‘Play It Again’ (Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley); ‘Roller Coaster’ (Michael Carter, Cole Swindell); ‘Strip It Down’ (Luke Bryan, Ross Copperman, Jon Nite).

Luke and the writers shared stories – often hilarious stories – telling how each of the songs came about. At one point, Luke was thanking his mom and dad and said that his dad couldn’t be here. “He couldn’t find anyone to take care of the dogs!” he said. “He’s not coming to the CMAs, either,” he added, rolling his eyes. “Can’t find anyone to look after the dang dogs!”

To cap the evening, Universal Music Group’s Mike Dungan announced that Luke’s album ‘Kill The Lights’ had just been certified Platinum. You can find Luke’s tour news and more at lukebryan.com.

Luke Bryan and the ‘P’ Pod of Seven Characteristics of Success

Excerpt from “The ‘P’ Pod: Seven characteristics shared by the most successful people in the music industry.” If you’d like a free copy of the entire article, send a request to me via the Contact page.

 

Photo credit: Preshias Harris
Photo credit: Preshias Harris

A singer-songwriter who embodies the “Seven Ps” is Luke Bryan. He was born in the rural Georgia town of Leesburg and knew from an early age that music was to be his life. When he was 19, he was finalizing a move to Nashville but, just as he was about to leave, his older brother Chris was tragically killed in a car accident. His plans were put on hold as he struggled to deal with the sudden loss.

Luke’s father, Tommy Bryan, knew that Luke had to move on with his life despite the wrenching grief, and encouraged him to load his guitar into his truck and drive to Music City. Once there, Luke was determined to be a success in his chosen career, writing and co-writing at every opportunity. His determination soon led to a publishing deal and he co-wrote songs recorded by Travis Tritt and Billy Currington, among others.

Luke’s perseverance paid off when he was signed to a recording contract by Capitol, and “All My Friends Say,” the lead-off single from his debut album, peaked at number 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

He was on his way and was invited to appear at the Grand Ole Opry. His older sister, Kelly, rounded up more than 100 people from their hometown to travel to Nashville and cheer him on. But once again, life threw him a tragic curve: just a few days after that exhilarating event, Kelly suddenly passed away from an undetermined cause.

Such tragedies might derail a lesser person, but Luke found strength from his faith and knew that his siblings wouldn’t want him to give up. Before long, he was back on track with a string of hit albums and Number One singles, and his achievements brought him recognition with dozens of nominations and awards from the CMA, the ACM, CMT, the Billboard Music Awards and more.

Photo credit: Mike Harris
Photo credit: Mike Harris

Luke Bryan has always kept his eyes on the prize. He has always been proactive in his career, making things happen rather than waiting for them to happen and he has patiently persevered even when life seemed to be stacked against him. He has developed and maintained a positive attitude, determined to find a way around each roadblock in his path. By living “The Seven Ps,” he was fully prepared to reach out and seize the opportunity when it appeared before him, strengthened by an unshakable faith.

Again, a reminder: if you’d like a free copy of the entire article, send a request to me via the Contact page.