Brett Young Celebrates Five For Five With “Here Tonight”

Pictured (L-R): producer Dann Huff, co-writers Ben Caver, Brett Young, Charles Kelley, Justin Ebach. Photo: Ed Rode Photography

Music industry members partied once back at work after the Memorial Day weekend at the “Here Tonight” No. 1 party on Tuesday (May 28), celebrating Brett Young‘s fifth consecutive No. 1 hit. Black v-neck tees and dark jeans was apparently the dress code for the afternoon for co-writers Young, Ben Caver, Charles Kelley and Justin Ebach, as it was for producer Dann Huff and many more as the celebration went on. ASCAP’s always charming Beth Brinker got everything started and served as host.

Brinker quickly brought up ASCAP’s Michael Martin to the mic. “I think the best part for me is meeting him at the beginning of the Nashville journey,” Martin said of Young. “Before you officially moved to town, before you made the indie record, before the record deal, and now to see the fruit of your work with you and your team is amazing.”

Martin reveled at Young’s success with now five No. 1 songs. “In a row!” Big Machine Label Group’s Jimmy Harnen corrected him from the crowd.

Brinker came back to the mic to talk about co-writer Kelley, who notched his eighth No. 1 hit as a songwriter. “Charles, it’s so great to see you influencing country radio outside of [Lady Antebellum] and I hope there will be much more of that, because we love celebrating you.”

“There is nothing I love more than a first time No. 1, and that’s what we’re celebrating today,” Brinker continued of ASCAP writer Caver. Brinker also bragged on Caver’s singing, which can be heard on the “Here Tonight” record.

SESAC’s Shannan Hatch was on hand to celebrate SESAC writer Ebach’s fourth country No. 1, the first of which was another Brett Young hit, “Sleep Without You.”

“It’s a very rare day when I look at the charts and I don’t see Justin Ebach’s name in several different places,” Hatch said. “He is clearly a hard worker.”

Hatch then turned the floor over to Ebach’s publisher and wife, Curb|Word Publishing’s Janine Ebach. She bragged on the co-writers and producer Huff, and gifted them and the BMLG radio team with chalices.

Janine Ebach also announced that “Here Tonight” narrowly fell into the qualification period so that Justin Ebach will receive a CMA Triple Play Award. “Thank you BMLG radio team and Jesus because this landed within a 12-month period so he gets the CMA Triple Play award. The timing could not have been better!” she said.

Big Machine Music’s Mike Molinar followed Ebach up saying, “Good job, Janine. That was an hour and a half shorter than the ‘Sleep Without You’ party.” The room roared with laughter and applause. Molinar made sure to first thank Young’s management team at 377 Management and Van Haze at Red Light Management.

Molinar gave a big shout out to the BMLG team, “To all of BMLG, it takes a village. All of our colleagues, it’s just impressive to be on the campus with you all. To the A&R team, to Scott Borchetta—from whom all gifts are given, it’s God then Scott Borchetta,” he quipped. “BMLG and the promo team, Harnen, Matthew, MTK, all the apes, let’s hear it!”

Pictured (L-R, back row): BMLG Record’s Madeline Farr, BMLG’s Scott Borchetta, Producer Dann Huff, Ben Caver, Brett Young, Charles Kelley, Justin Ebach, BMLG Record’s Andi Brooks; (L-R, front row): BMLG Record’s Matthew Hargis, Michelle Kammerer, Jimmy Harnen, Cherylynne Nader, Andrew Thoen. Photo: Ed Rode Photography

Molinar also thanked Huff and his partner-in-crime engineer, Justin Niebank, and finally Big Machine Music writer Brett Young. “Let’s go for six!” he said.

Black River’s Katie Barolak kept it short and sweet, congratulating Black River writer Caver on his first No. 1.

“Who wants to hear from another publisher?” Warner/Chappell’s BJ Hill joked. He then took off his jacket to reveal that he, too, was wearing a black v-neck and dark jeans, fitting in with the rest of the crowd on stage. Hill was there to speak for Ebach.

When BMLG President and CEO Scott Borchetta took to the stage, he also removed his jacket to reveal a black v-neck and dark jeans. Borchetta recognized all of the co-writers, including new Big Machine artist Charles Kelley.

“It’s so much fun making records with Dann Huff,” Borchetta said. “The proof is in the pudding and everything that we get to do. He’s the man that I know when I have something that’s going to be tough, he’s the only guy I know that can land a record. And the things that he’s done behind the scenes, and the collaborative—you would expect Dann Huff to have an ego bigger than Nashville. Reality, the man has no ego. He’s totally about the art, he’s totally about collaboration, he’s totally about continuing to learn and making the best music possible.”

BMLG’s Jimmy Harnen made sure to shout out Laurel Kittleson, and to thank Brett Young for trusting him with the choice of single. Harnen then called up the BMLG radio promotion team leaders, Matthew Hargis and Michelle Tigard Kammerer, and announced that they had celebrated 31 No. 1 songs in 10 years.

Everyone had plenty of sentiments to give to the always humble Dann Huff. When it came time for Huff to speak, the crowd listened intently, and those on the receiving end of his praises beamed.

“Brett, I’ve loved your singing from the first note I heard,” Huff said. “The way you treat people is exemplary. That’s all I can say. Everybody around Brett wants to do better because of the way he treats people.”

Pictured (L-R, back row): BMLG Record’s Jimmy Harnen, Big Machine Music’s Mike Molinar, BMLG’s Scott Borchetta, ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, BJ Hill, Katie Barolak, SESAC’s Shannon Hatch, Janine Ebach; (L-R, front row): Producer Dann Huff, Ben Caver, Brett Young, Charles Kelley, Justin Ebach. Photo: Ed Rode Photography

Justin Ebach echoed the praise for Jimmy Harnen and the ‘apes.’

“You have been a massive part of my career and I am grateful to be the smallest part of your career,” Ebach said to Young. “I’m so pumped for you and Taylor and the family you guys are going to have.”

Ebach almost accidentally left out his wife and the Curb|Word Publishing staff, his co-writers did not let him off easy.

“Also, Janine, you can go shopping tomorrow and he wants to take you to a really nice dinner,” Charley Kelley added.

Ben Caver reflected on his journey to the No. 1 stage, and thanked his family and wife Sarah. He went on to thank BMLG, Brett Young, his co-writers and the Black River Publishing team. Caver made sure to recognize Dave Pacula. “You have been my champion since 2010,” he said. “You signed me at Universal Music Publishing and again at Black River and you’ve taught me so much about songwriting. About what it is to be a songwriter, about the craft of writing songs and about getting in the right rooms and working my ass off—sorry, mom—thank you, man.”

“To win with good people means more to me than anything,” Caver said in closing.

Charles Kelley gave a little bit of insight on how he came into the write. “I’m so glad at catering I was so forward when I saw y’all there and said, ‘Y’all are writing, well that sounds pretty cool. I don’t have anything to do. Need a fourth? Anybody wanna split things four ways?’ And they said, ‘Yes.’

“Thank you guys so much, all the promotion staff, thank you guys for letting me be a little, simple part of it. Merely just pushing myself into a write,” Kelley concluded.

When the man of the hour stepped up to the mic, he quickly corrected Kelley’s recount of the day of the “Here Tonight” write. “You didn’t say, ‘Oh, you’re writing, that sounds cool. I’ve got nothing to do today.’ What you said was, ‘You guys are writing? I’d like to write.’ Of course the answer if ‘Yes’ because we’re all big fans. But you weren’t so subtle,” he quipped. Young also allowed that the idea for “Here Tonight” was Kelley’s.

Young went on to thank ASCAP for their support and guidance. “You will always be my home,” he said.

Young thanked BMLG, saying “This was the easiest decision I ever made, and it continues to get easier.”

He also thanked his management team, and especially Van Haze, as well as his team at WME, and his co-writers and Dann Huff.

“This has been the most incredible year of my life outside of music, we got married, we bought a house, we made a baby, those are all things that just make this more sweet. The way that [Taylor] supports me, there’s nothing like it in the world. I couldn’t do it without her,” Young concluded.


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LB Cantrell is Project Manager at MusicRow magazine. She heads up specific, large-scale projects for the company and assists in day-to-day tasks. LB also manages the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart and contributes editorial for both the print and online platforms. She joined MusicRow full time in January of 2019, after interning and working part time for the company for a year. She is from Blairsville, Georgia and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Music Business degree in 2018.

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