No. 1 Party: Love and Theft’s “Angel Eyes”

Pictured (L-R) Front Row: Co-writer Eric Paslay, Stephen Barker Liles and co-writer Eric Gunderson of Love and Theft, co-writer Jeff Coplan. Back Row: Cal IV Entertainment's Daniel Hill, EMI Music Publishing's Josh Van Valkenburg, Rockapop Music's Robert Ellis Orrall, ASCAP'S Mike Sistad, producer Josh Leo, Sony Music Nashville's Gary Overton and RCA Nashville's Keith Gale. Photo: Ed Rode.

Love and Theft celebrated its first No. 1 “Angel Eyes,” the first single from the duo’s self-titled RCA Nashville album, at ASCAP yesterday (9/25).

The ceremony also marked the first No. 1 for co-writer (and band member) Eric Gunderson, who penned the song with Eric Paslay and Jeff Coplan. For Paslay, it marked a rare triple-play achievement for landing 3 No. 1 songs in one calendar year (“Even if it Breaks Your Heart,” and “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”).

“Paslay started as an intern for us,” said Cal IV’s Daniel Hill. “He’s been doing a pretty good job.”

“[ASCAP] was the second building I walked in to on Music Row 10 years ago,” said Paslay. “This 29th year of my life has been life changing.”

Recognition was also given to Sony and the RCA promotion team as Gary Overton and Keith Gale took the stage.

“I have been up here for a few awards, and I have had it stop for a while,” said producer Josh Leo. “It feels great to be up here again.”

EMI Publishing’s Josh Van Valkenburg shared sentimental stories of the two band members.

“Thank you Stephen [Barker],” said Gunderson of his band member. “He has been my partner in crime. Sometimes literally.”

“It has been a long road for us and we stuck it out together,” said a tearful Barker. “Jim Catino wanted to sign us before we went to Lyric Street. So, thank you for your willingness to sign us again.”

“I think of these two guys as sons,” said songwriter Robert Ellis Orrall, who offered plaques and sentiments to the band from Rockapop Music.

Bill Mayne presented No. 1 trophies from the CRB, Lon Helton offered plaques from Country Aircheck, and Brandi Simms bestowed the new CMA medallions.


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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine,, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

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