“A Little Bit Stronger” No. 1 Party

Sheryl Crow congratulates Sara Evans at the “A Little Bit Stronger” No. 1 party.

Revelers packed Cabana yesterday (5/25) to salute the songwriters of the multi-week Sara Evans No. 1, “A Little Bit Stronger.” BMI, ASCAP and SESAC teamed to host the event honoring their respective affiliates Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey, and Hillary Scott.

BMI’s Jody Williams toasted Laird and Evans, noting that the star is still going strong 14 years after the release of her debut album. He said Laird’s career has grown exponentially in recent years, scoring numerous hits and leading to frequent collaborations in New York and Los Angeles. It was the sixth charttopper for Laird, who also has the new Rodney Atkins single “Take A Back Road.” Williams and others also saluted producer Tony Brown for his work on the song, one of his 100-plus No. 1 hits.

ASCAP’s Mike Sistad gave tribute to Lindsey for her eighth No. 1; she has achieved massive success since first coming to Nashville in 1994 to attend Belmont University. Lindsey was most recently self-published through Raylene Music, which was run by her sister, Taylor Lindsey, but last night Taylor announced Raylene’s new partnership with BMG Chrysalis before turning the stage over to BMG Chrysalis’s Darrell Franklin. “Hillary is as true and heartfelt as the music she creates,” he beamed.

Next, SESAC’s Tim Fink cheered Scott’s first No. 1 as a songwriter outside of Lady Antebellum, while her bandmates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood cheered in the crowd. Fink noted Scott’s tireless efforts to rebuild Haiti in the wake of last year’s devastating earthquake, and her publisher, EMI, made a donation to the cause on her behalf.

In keeping with the spirit of giving back, Avenue Bank presented a donation to Preston Taylor Ministries in honor of those behind the song.

All three of the songwriters had parents in attendance, including the Lairds from Pennsylvania and Lindseys from Georgia. (We all know Scott’s parents are Nashvillians.) The out-of-towners were celebrating their 39th and 37th wedding anniversaries, respectively. Evans’ hubby and three daughters came up from their home in Birmingham to cheer-on mom, who gave tearful thank-yous to her family, with a special show of gratitude to her brother Matt Evans, her bandmate and lifelong supporter.

A stronger group. (L-R): Universal Music Publishing’s Kent Earls, BMI’s Jody Williams, co-writer Luke Laird, ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, co-writer Hillary Lindsey, Sara Evans, co-writer Hillary Scott, SESAC’s Tim Fink, EMI Foray Music’s Josh VanValkenburg, producer Tony Brown (kneeling), BMG Chrysalis’ Darrell Franklin, Raylene Music/BMG Chrysalis’ Taylor Lindsey, and EMI Music Publishing’s Missy Wilson.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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