Nashville Industry Celebrates Jason Aldean’s 21st Chart-Topper “Drowns The Whiskey”

Pictured (L-R): Josh Thompson (BMI/Big Machine), Michael Knox (producer), Jason Aldean, Brandon Kinney (BMI/Tom Leis Music-Sony/ATV), Jeff Middleton (BMI/Liz Rose Music). Photo: Steve Lowry

Jason Aldean says he has Tyler Farr to thank for his 21st No. 1 single, “Drowns The Whiskey,” featuring Miranda Lambert.

“I was recording a few songs on Tyler for his album and I found ‘Drowns The Whiskey’ and played it for him,” Aldean told a crowd of industry well-wishers as they gathered Tuesday (Jan. 8) at Nashville’s Cambria Hotel to celebrate the chart-topper.

“Tyler said, ‘Man, all my songs are about drinking and I don’t think I need any more.’ I said, ‘If you don’t cut this thing, I’m going to.’ It is just an amazing song.”

The track was penned by Josh Thompson (Big Machine Music), Brandon Kinney (Tom Leis Music-Sony/ATV) and Jeff Middleton (Liz Rose Music). Aldean’s vocal cohort on the song, Lambert, was not in attendance.

BMI’s David Preston and Leslie Roberts were on hand to celebrate the artists and writers on the song, as was Pinnacle Bank. Pinnacle made a donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Others heralding the song’s success included BBR Music Group’s Jon Loba, Big Machine Music’s Mike Molinar, BMI’s Leslie Roberts, Sony/ATV’s Troy Tomlinson, Broken Bow’s Carson James, and CMA’s Brandi Simms.

Molinar noted the song marks Thompson’s third No. 1 hit in 18 months, with two of those tracks being songs Aldean recorded (the other Aldean hit being “Any Ol’ Barstool”).

“I think everyone recognizes that ‘Drowns The Whiskey’ is going to be one of those songs that lasts, and not just as a radio recurrent or in Jason’s arena tours, but wherever there is a bar and a jukebox and a guy or girl with a broken heart, they are probably going to play this song. This is real country music that is moving real people.”

Liz Rose Music’s Liz Rose said, “I started out as a publisher and a song plugger, so this is awesome. Why I’m in this business is to sign songwriters like Jeff Middleton and see their dreams come true.”

Leslie DiPiero, who is General Manager at Tree Vibez Music, but is still involved in Tom-Leis Music, praised Kinney, who was celebrating his very first No. 1 song. “I’m supposed to be a silent partner at Tom-Leis now, but anyone who knows me knows that’s not going to be the case. I’ve worked with Brandon for about a decade and every day I’ve watched him show up and give his best.”

Thompson thanked the artists and his co-writers, using his signature wit. “This song has been a hell of a ride from the time we wrote it til the time it actually got cut. Knox, Jason you crushed the song and Miranda just sprinkled the magic on it,” Thompson said. “Brandon and Jeff, thanks for being in the room while I wrote the song,” he quipped.

“This is a story about when someone sticks to something,” Middleton offered. “Jason [Aldean] stuck with this song for a long time and Liz has stuck with me as a writer for a long time. I’ve stuck around this town for a long time. The day this song was cut, I took a job in accounting, so I do a lot of math these days,” says Middleton, who also works for Waitr & Associates. “So it’s been a weird road and I’m grateful to be here with a No. 1. Josh, Brandon, thank you for you know drinking the whiskey while I wrote the song,” he joked. “But seriously, thank you to everyone for coming.”

“Yes, we drank a lot of whiskey when we wrote this song. If that’s all we did, we did our part, I guarantee you,” Kinney said. “First I want to thank my family for always standing beside me—my mom and dad. The DiPieros and Sony and Knox, thanks for believing in me enough tot sign me. Aldean, you killed it. I’ve been trying to get a cut on you for a long time. I almost had a No. 1 one time and you kicked me out of that,” he quipped. “We had Randy Houser’s ‘Boots On’ at No. 2 and I said, ‘I think we’re going for No. 1 this week,’ and what does ‘Big Green Tractor’ do? Plows right over our asses. But I didn’t not know the same [person] was going to give me my first No. 1.

“I love country music y’all. Ever since I was little, I dreamed of it. And here I am with my friends and family,” Kinney concluded.

Knox said that the song is intensely personal. “I got to be part of Josh Thompson’s first record, Brandon writes for me and Sony doesn’t hold a grudge on me, that’s awesome. Me and Jason forever, Broken Bow is a family to me, and Jeff works for the company that watches my money, so trying to weigh out which one’s more important—I think Jeff wins that,” he quipped.

“Thanks to radio for playing a song that has a little bit of a traditional feel to it,” Aldean summed. “I feel like songs like this don’t come on the radio a lot, so thanks for still playing something that’s actually country, a little bit. Miranda is not here, but I thought this was a good song but once she got on it, it became a phenomenal song. It was one of the biggest songs of the year, and that was because it was well-written, well-produced, and I tried to sing it as best as I could.”

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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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