Dustin Lynch and songwriters Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip rounded up friends, families and allies at a No. 1 party for “Mind Reader,” held Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 24) at South.
ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, BMI’s Nina Carter, Sony/ATV’s Tom Luteran and THIS Music’s Rusty Gaston all roused the crowd with startling statistics and good humor. One astonishing fact: Akins and Hayslip have written nearly a hundred major label cuts together.
Broken Bow Records’ Jon Loba, CMA’s Brandi Simms, and boisterous producer Mickey Jack Cones also praised the men of the hour during the party. A representative from Avenue Bank was unable to attend but a charitable donation was given to the Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee.
Hayslip thanked his wife for sticking with him before the hits started rolling in, then pointed out his kids in the audience. After thanking Gaston for giving him a publishing deal 10 years ago, Hayslip reminisced about signing the agreement when one of his kids was just about to be born. “He doesn’t know Daddy without hits,” Hayslip said about his 10-year-old. “That’s his pickup line at school: ‘My Daddy wrote that.’”
Hayslip profusely thanked his friends at THIS Music, Warner/Chappell, Sony/ATV Music, Broken Bow Records and ASCAP. Speaking about Lynch and Cones, he added, “You guys are a good team. You all are doing something and making history in country music right now. I hope you guys stay together. It’s a good combination.”
Wrapping things up, he spoke about his longtime friendship with Akins.
“From two kids writing songs in the outfield of a baseball field in Valdosta, Georgia, to all these hit songs, relationships with all these artists like Dustin, to opening up 20,000-people tours on Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour… two guys just started out sitting on a bed playing guitar and playing Hank Jr. I don’t we got here, but we did.”
Akins continued that thread during his time at the podium, noting, “I don’t know how we continue to do this. I had no idea we had close to a hundred cuts together. If you could hear our songs we wrote in 1983, you wouldn’t think that would happen!”
He thanked Lynch, Cones, BBR Music Group CEO Benny Brown, BBR Music Group Executive Vice President Jon Loba, and Broken Bow Records VP /Promotion Lee Adams, as well as friends at Sony/ATV, BMI, and his mother, who was in attendance.
Akins concluded, “It’s cool to get in a room every Wednesday, or two or three times a week, with Ben and we have absolutely nothing. We say, ‘What are we going to write today? Well, let’s go eat and we’ll figure it out.’ We really don’t even get started until 2 o’clock but we always come up with something. I guess just because we grew up together the same way and speak the same language. We just have a thing, and thank y’all for letting us have that thing.”
With his parents proudly looking on, Lynch addressed the audience by first thanking his comrades at William Morris Endeavor, his band and crew, and his publicist and marketing team for raising his profile and trying new things on digital platforms.
After thanking his label, Lynch continued, “I want to take a moment to let everybody know what’s about to happen. This next album, I’m so fired up about it and we’re not even halfway done with it. It’s gonna be a big, big moment, so thank you guys for letting me be creative and letting me stretch my wings.”
Lynch told the audience that his first show in Nashville was in this very building, when it was known as Two Doors Down. He went on to say that “Mind Reader” was a song he’s wanted to record for a while, but just wanted the timing to be right.
“There’s a weird magic in Nashville that happens with songs that end up with whatever artist,” he said. “There are songs that I wanted to cut that I didn’t cut, then someone else had success with. And there’s probably a reason for that. I know I wasn’t the only artist that wanted to record ‘Mind Reader,’ so thank you guys for believing in me. And whatever weird magic is going around, thank you to the magic.”
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