Carrie Underwood and fellow songwriters Brett James, Hillary Lindsey, Ashley Gorley and Zach Crowell celebrated the No. 1 hits “Heartbeat” and “Church Bells” with a party at The Bell Tower on Thursday (Aug. 11). James, Lindsey, and Crowell co-wrote the single “Church Bells,” while Underwood, Gorley and Crowell co-wrote “Heartbeat,” with Crowell also serving as producer on the song.
“Thank you guys so much for being here,” said Underwood. “God is good and I’m so incredibly blessed throughout my life and career but mainly because I get to work with the best. That is a blessing beyond blessings. That goes for the people I write with and record with.”
She thanked manager Ann Edelblute, the Sony label staff and everyone that supports the artist, songwriters and songs.
BMI’s Jody Williams, ASCAP’s John Titta and Michael Martin, Warner/Chappell’s Ben Vaughn, Cornman Music’s Nate Lowery, Underwood’s “Church Bells” producer Mark Bright, CMA’s Brandi Simms, and CRB’s Bill Mayne also offered words of praise for “Church Bells” and “Heartbeat.”
Birthday girl Hillary Lindsey was feted not only with praise for co-writing “Church Bells,” but with a cake honoring her special day. Attendees also dined on cupcakes specially made with toppings shaped like hearts and bells from Nashville bakery IveyCake.
“I turned 40 today,” said Lindsey. “If anyone had asked me when I was little what I would be doing on my 40th birthday, I never would have imagined that I would be onstage with some of my dearest friends and singing songs with friends I’ve made over the past 20 years, with a freakin’ superstar that I was just downstairs in hair and makeup and she’s giving me tips on eyelashes and preschools. I never would have imagined I would be here with this audience celebrating. I’m super thankful for all of this and for all of your friendships.”
“Everyone who knows me knows that my favorite thing about this business is not the music that we make, but the friends that we make,” said James, “and I’m on a stage with dear friends here tonight. I’m honored to be part of this.”
Avenue Bank made donations on behalf of each songwriter to Underwood’s C.A.T.S. Foundation, which was established in 2009 to improve Underwood’s Checotah, Oklahoma, hometown by assisting with causes and providing services to the community.
Sony Music Nashville Chairman/CEO Randy Goodman reminded the audience of Underwood’s accomplishments leading into the CMA Awards voting season.
“There is an opportune time for everything under the sun,” said Goodman. “At a time when some compare our cherished women to a salad brunch, we all know Carrie has never been anything but the main course.”
Underwood has indeed been busy in the past year. In addition to earning chart-topping hits from her latest album, Storyteller, she has also been on the road since January, entertaining crowds on her The Storyteller Tour: Stories In The Round, which runs through November.
Underwood released her fourth installment of the Sunday Night Football theme song, collaboratively rewriting the lyrics to “Somethin’ Bad” to fit the sports theme. She has played the UK four times, including headlining at C2C and most notably as the first country headliner for the Apple Music Festival in London. She will head to Australia in December with a string of tour dates with Keith Urban. Before that, she will co-host the 50th annual CMA Awards with Brad Paisley.
“She is not only a consummate artist but also an ambassador for our format,” Goodman said. “Indefatigable is the only way I can describe Carrie’s work ethic. A wise man did say there is a time for everything and when you ponder all that Carrie Underwood is and what she means to our genre, I think you all will agree that her time is now. Her time is now.”
The evening ended appropriately in song, with Underwood, James (who owns The Bell Tower) and Lindsey trading lines and harmonies on “Heartbeat,” “Church Bells,” and Underwood’s 2005 debut single, “Jesus Take the Wheel.”
The hit stories from Storyteller will keep coming, as Underwood ended the evening by introducing her upcoming fourth single from the album, “Dirty Laundry.”
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