Members of Nashville’s music industry gathered at Nashville restaurant South on Demonbreun Street yesterday (Oct. 8) to toast Brantley Gilbert and co-writers Brian Davis and Mike Dekle in celebrating the chart-topping success of “One Hell of An Amen.”
Perry Howard of BMI honored Warner/Chappell writer Gilbert, as well as Davis, who earned his very first No. 1 with “One Hell of An Amen.” In BMI tradition, the PRO gave Davis an Epiphone guitar to commemorate his first No. 1. Davis, an artist in his own right, has been on the road opening for Gilbert.
Ole’s John Ozier and ASCAP’s Beth Brinker honored Dekle, who has been an ASCAP member for 33 years.
Others honoring the writers included BMLG’s George Briner, Warner/Chappell’s Ben Vaughn, CMA’s Brenden Oliver and CRB’s Ashley Silver.
BMLG founder/CEO Scott Borchetta showed his full support of the Gilbert and the song by showing off his Brantley Gilbert T-shirt to the crowd. “When he brought this song in it was special. Songs like this are not easy to get [to No. 1] at radio. I tried to think of a similar moment where a hit song honored people who passed. Twenty years ago I worked the song by Vince Gill called, ‘Go Rest High On That Mountain.’ It reminds us what is good and great about true songwriters and great about country music. Brantley Gilbert is a true songwriter and artist, and we are glad the song went all the way.”
Avenue Bank’s Ron Cox was on hand to announce the company’s donation to the Kory Potts Foundation. The foundation honors Gilbert’s childhood friend Kory Potts, who died at age 23 of leukemia. The foundation grants scholarships to student athletes with exemplary leadership skills. The foundation also supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The song and celebration were emotional for Gilbert, who shared a testimony of how the song brought healing to his longtime friend, Josh Greene. Greene, an Army Ranger, had watched his Army buddy Jonathan Lootens die after his Humvee was bombed. Gilbert recalled that Greene wasn’t the same after the incident. “I watched Josh struggle with substances, I watched him struggle with his mind … you know when you know someone well enough to know something is on their heart?…I never could figure out what it was.”
When Greene discovered that Lootens’s parents would be attending a Brantley Gilbert concert a few years later, he tagged along, and was able to meet the parents of his Army buddy.
“Josh finished the story,” Gilbert says, explaining that Lootens went on the mission with Greene, even though he didn’t have to. According to the story, Lootens and Greene had argued about Lootens going on the mission, and then they left in different vehicles. Soon the bombing happened.
“Josh witnessed every second of what went down. I saw a young man look into a mother’s eyes and tell her that her son was not alone when he died,” Gilbert told the crowd. “That he held his hand every second of the way. One of the things she said was, ‘I just worried he was alone.’ And Josh cried and said ‘He was not alone, I was right there with him. I never left him.’
“Josh is a new man,” Gilbert told Lootens’s mother, who attended the No. 1 party. “That’s one more person that your man saved.”
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