ASCAP’s Michael Martin and BMI’s Clay Bradley hosted a mega-celebration at BMI Nashville’s lobby on April 28 to celebrate not one, but two No. 1 songs.
Kenny Chesney and songwriters Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, David Lee Murphy, and Jimmy Yeary were honored yesterday for the chart-topping songs “American Kids” and “‘Til It’s Gone.” The songs mark Chesney’s 25th and 26th chart-toppers.
“As a [song] plugger, it’s a special day when a song like this comes in,” said Big Red Toe’s Matt Turner of the song “American Kids,” penned by Clawson, Laird and McAnally. “It’s not a matter of if it will get cut, but when and who.”
Even as equally top-notch songwriters, it was clear that each writer was a friend and fan of the others. “To all the young songwriters, get in a writing room with Luke Laird. That’s the key to a good song,” said McAnally. “And luckily he introduced me to Rodney Clawson. I’m so blessed to get to do this for a living every day.” He got another blessing that day from his hometown of Mineral Wells, Texas. April 28, 2015 was proclaimed as Shane McAnally day in the city.
For Laird, earning a No. 1 song recorded by Kenny Chesney was a full-circle moment. “I often tell people my first cut was a Lee Ann Womack cut,” said Laird, before revealing that his very first cut by an artist came years ago when Kenny Chesney recorded a song Laird penned, titled “Miss Mexico.” “It didn’t make the record,” Laird said. “I appreciate you cutting this song.” He also praised co-writers Clawson and McAnally. “You go through so many writing relationships. These guys Rodney and Shane aren’t here by luck. They show up every time [to write]. They raise the bar, and make me want to be a better writer.”
Creative Nation’s Beth Laird was on hand to honor the song’s writers with custom-crafted side tables made with vinyl album covers–one side emblazoned with a vinyl cover of “American Kids,” and the other with a John Mellencamp vinyl cover.
Others offering praise to the songwriters and to Kenny were Universal Music Publishing Group’s Kent Earls and Round Hill Music’s Mark Brown.
The day’s other celebrated tune, “‘Til It’s Gone,” was penned by Clawson, Yeary, and Murphy.
THiS Music’s Rusty Gaston encouraged a round of wild applause for all the writers, before sharing the decidedly vintage route “‘Til It’s Gone” took to being recorded. “They made a true old-school work tape. Just guitars played into cell phones, that’s what Kenny heard. The fact that at this point [Kenny] would listen to work tapes and hear through that and want to record it—hearing that Kenny is recording your song is a highlight of any writer’s year.” Sony/ATV’s Troy Tomlinson also tributed the writers, as well as Chesney’s producer Buddy Cannon and Columbia Nashville’s Norbert Nix.
Among those celebrating the writers and artist were CMA’s Brenden Oliver, CRB’s Holly Lane, and Avenue Bank’s Cooper Samuels.
“I think it was David Lee who said to me, ‘Well, when you get back out there, what do you want to say to your audience?’” said Chesney. “And this song [“Til It’s Gone”] is about living in the moment WITH someone, but if you back away… and look at it as all those people (in the audience), that’s exactly what I wanted to say. I knew when I heard the demo, the groove, the mood, the lyric that was it! I’m blessed they send me their demos.”
“These songwriters pour their hearts out every day and their talent takes Nashville to another level,” Bradley summed. Referencing Chesney’s recent concerts at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and his well-known work ethic, Bradley said, “Your passion to be the best inspires us all.”
Chesney also used the moment in the spotlight to announce that David Lee Murphy will soon release a new project of his own. Chesney is in the studio mixing a new album for the “Party Crowd” singer-songwriter.
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