BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM
The future looks blindingly bright for Dan + Shay.
With “Tequila” steamrolling towards a certain shot at No. 1, anticipation is high for the duo’s upcoming CD. At an exclusive listening party on Tuesday evening, May 8, the team offered a tantalizing sneak-peak of what we can expect. It took place at WB boss John Esposito’s vintage Belle Meade home.
“Five-and-a-half years ago, everybody in town was trying to sign Dan + Shay, but this house was a secret weapon,” said host Espo. “It was because of the back yard. They came and played here for four nights. They shot their first EPK here.
“You’re really lucky in life when you can hit a vein,” he added, pointing to the team’s songwriting talent, Shay Mooney’s stunning, effortless, tenor voice and Dan Smyers’ “ears” as a producer, guitarist and velvety baritone harmony vocalist.
“We’ve already had success. And then we got ‘Tequila.’” With 80 million streams, the song is one of the 10 most streamed country songs so far this year. And, “It’s getting on music charts around the world.
“We have seven or eight No. 1 single contenders on this record, and I’m not exaggerating. Welcome to ‘Live at Espo’s!’”
Dan + Shay sang their No. 1 smash “How Not To,” while the audience sang along. They followed it with “Tequila.” Both were performed without amplification, with Dan’s acoustic guitar as their only accompaniment. And both pinned our ears back.
“Thank you guys for always kicking ass for us,” said Dan, referring to the assembled media mavens. “It takes a village. We got to live our dream every day because of the people in this room. We feel so damn lucky. And I get to live this dream with my best friend in the world. I think this guy right here is the best singer in country music,” he added, smiling at Shay.Dan was our DJ as he played some tracks from the upcoming album. “All to Myself” was joyous and bopping, followed by a string of additional titles from the upcoming project.
Grooving to the tunes were Jon Freeman, John Hamlin, Susan Stewart, Sherod Robertson, Steve Buchanan, Shane Tarleton, Lisa Ray, Leslie Fram, Beville Dunkerley, Brittany Shaffer, Ann Powers, Alicia Warwick, Chuck Aly, Tom Roland, Wes Vause, Jewly Hight, Cris Lacy, Frank Tanki and R.J. Curtis.
One particular delight was Dan + Shay’s merry riffing on an improvised ditty with the theme of “Drinkin’ Wine at Espo’s,” which was what we were doing, after all.
“This is a special place for us,” said Shay of their label chief’s elegant, 101-year-old manse. “This is awesome.”
Then label chief presented Dan + Shay with Gold Record plaques for “How Not To” as a climax of the eve.
“This is the year for Dan + Shay,” said John Esposito. “They are superstars in waiting.”