Bobby Karl Works The Room: Blake Shelton Celebrates His 26th No. 1 Single With “God’s Country”

Back Row (L-R): BMI’s Josh Tomlinson, ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, Warner Chappell’s Ben Vaughn, Kobalt’s Jesse Willoughby, Scott Hendricks, Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito, We-Volve’s Dane Schmidt, Tree Vibez Music’s Leslie DiPiero and Brian Kelley. Front Row, Seated, (L-R): BMI songwriter Devin Dawson, BMI songwriter Michael Hardy, Blake Shelton, ASCAP songwriter Jordan Schmidt (Photo: Jason Kempin / Getty for BMI)


Chapter 629

We have No. 1 parties all the time in Music City, but it isn’t every day that we have one featuring three different recording artists, plus a superstar.

The superstar in question was Blake Shelton. The bash for his 26th chart topper, “God’s Country,” was staged on Wednesday eve (Aug. 7) at his fabulous Ole Red downtown nightclub.

“God’s Country” co-writers Devin Dawson (BMI) and Michael Hardy (BMI) both have recording contracts, and the latter is making noise with his full-on wacky “Rednecker,” billed as HARDY. The third “God’s Country” writer is Jordan Schmidt (ASCAP), who writes for Tree Vibez, the publishing company owned by Florida Georgia Line. Which explains the presence of that duo’s Brian Kelley. The event was led by ASCAP’s Beth Brinker and BMI’s Josh Tomlinson.

“This is an all-star No. 1 party, if ever there was one,” said Warner Chappell’s Ben Vaughn.

“When you have two of your best friends up here and your label mate, it doesn’t get better than that,” said Devin, who records for Warner Music Nashville, as does Blake.

“Blake, you are so YOU, and that’s the kind of artist I want to be,” Devin continued. “You are inspiring.” His twin brother, Jacob Robert Durrett, plays drums for HARDY, adding to the event’s familial complexity.

“Everybody’s my family,” said Hardy, who has five songs on the current country chart. This is his third chart-topping song, but a special one: “I’ve wanted a Blake cut ever since I moved to town, so this is very unreal.”

“It takes a village to make this happen, and unfortunately I don’t know the names of all the villagers,” said Schmidt. He has had 82 cuts and five No. 1 hits as a writer.

“Songs like this show that everybody on this stage knows no boundaries,” said Kelley. “This is why we all moved to Nashville, to chase crazy dreams.”

“God’s Country” is Devin Dawson’s first chart topper. BMI’s Tomlinson got choked up when he talked about the accomplishment, because he and Devin were college classmates at Belmont.

WMN’s John Esposito said, “Give it up for Josh and his emotion.

“You guys have no idea how happy I am,” Espo added. “It’s the most-streamed country song released this year, and it’s still selling 100,000 a week.”

BMI songwriter Devin Dawson, BMI songwriter Michael Hardy, Blake Shelton, ASCAP songwriter Jordan Schmidt (Photo: Jason Kempin / Getty for BMI)

Fabulons working the room included stage presenters Brandi Simms (CMA), Jesse Willoughby (Kobalt) and Scott Hendricks, plus Leslie Roberts, Leslie DiPiero, Mike Sistad, Sherod Robertson, Andrew Kintz, Becca Walls, Shannon McCombs, Shane Tarleton, Diane Pearson, Justin Niebank, Chuck Aly, Brenden Oliver, Preshius Harris, Kristen Williams, Katherine Richardson, Wes Vause and Todd Ramey.

Before the event, Blake said he was in a vehicle on his ranch in Oklahoma when he first heard “God’s Country.” He called Scott instantly and recorded the song four days later.

After Garth Brooks saw Blake sing it on the ACM Awards, he asked him to record their “Dive Bar” duet. Blake is now touring with another superstar, George Strait.

Blake expressed regret that Adam Levine is leaving The Voice, but said he was grateful to have show vet and girlfriend Gwen Stefani joining the judging panel.

He added that he has recorded “a ton” of new material but, “I don’t know when or how it will see the light of day….I just want to record songs and release ‘em. The label’s going to try to put something together [to include “God’s Country” and his new other new songs]. I’m just havin’ fun. At this point in my life and career, everything is icing on the cake….The fact that I’m still up here talking about it is thanks to people like you guys.”



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