Eric Church Celebrates Two Chart-Toppers At Double Down No. 1 Party

Pictured (L-R, back row): BMI’s Jody Williams, Sea Gayle Music’s JD Groover, Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg, UMG Nashville’s Mike Dungan, BMI’s MaryAnn Keen, Little Louder Music’s Arturo Buenahora; (L-R, front row): co-writers Jeff Hyde, Bobby Pinson, Eric Church, Clint Daniels and Luke Dick. Photo: Anthony D’Angio

A very loved and revered Eric Church celebrated two No. 1 songs yesterday (Sept. 24) with his co-writers, industry friends and admirers at the Nashville airport. Presented by BMI and his label EMI Nashville, the chart-toppers commemorated were his “Round Here Buzz,” off his 2015 album Mr. Misunderstood and co-written with Jeff Hyde and Luke Dick, as well as his “Some Of It,” off his 2018 Desperate Man record, co-written with Hyde, Clint Daniels and Bobby Pinson. Producer Arturo Buenahora, Jr. was also in attendance, while Jay Joyce was not able to be there.

Church greeted an industry crowd flanked by two jets and Desperate Man road cases at an aircraft hangar on the outskirts of Nashville, a nod to both the film location of his “Desperate Man” music video as well as the cover image on the album.

BMI’s MaryAnn Keen served as the host for the event, and Jody Williams was the first to speak.

“Back in 2006, the sound of country music was starting to shift,” Williams said. “And the writers and the artists who were moving to town were a little more influenced by hip-hop music than they were by Haggard and Jones. But something else happened in 2006, just as radio was embracing the emerging wave of the new sound of country music, Eric Church sends up a flare with his first single ‘How ‘Bout You.’ And it barely cracked the Top 10, there was no one that remotely sounded like Eric.

“But it was the perfect time for this non-conformist to plant his flag and get about the business of not conforming to the current trend. Over time, Eric attracted a few like-minded songwriters, all in some way non-conformists themselves, who were perfect collaborators. Over the past 14 years, Eric has carved out his place in American music culture by being true to himself and surrounding himself with songwriters who are, like Eric, independent thinkers,” Williams praised.

Williams announced that Dick was celebrating his first of three No. 1 songs, Hyde’s fourth, Daniels’ third, and Pinson’s tenth; and that Church is up for Video, Album and Entertainer of the Year at this year’s CMA Awards. “I wouldn’t dare bet against Eric at the CMA’s this year,” Williams said.

Pinnacle Bank’s David Smith spoke, and announced that they had made a donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in honor of the songs.

Buenahora made sure to thank Perry Howard, who Buenahora says connected him to Church. “That’s what a good PRO will do, is they will fight for a writer to get a shot,” he said. Buenahora also thanked Sony/ATV’s future leader, Rusty Gaston, and let him know that Little Louder was for sale for $54 million.

“But this day is not about any of that,” Buenahora said with a smile. “It’s about the songwriters. While I don’t publish all these guys, I’m really excited for all of them. Our company is a six year-old company now, and we’ve got a long ways to go, but we are doing big things. We’ve tried to establish our reputation as having good songs, maybe not songs for everyone, but I wouldn’t trade my guys for any other roster in town. We are the freaks and geeks, and that’s how we like it.

“Lastly, I’ve got to say to my partner Eric Church, the journey has been amazing, we’re still climbing. These things are hard. Eric Church does not deliver easy radio songs. Royce [Risser], Jimmy [Rector], I know you guys know that, so let me say thank you for all that you do getting Eric Church songs on the radio,” Buenahora concluded.

SeaGayle’s newly promoted JD Groover was honored that his first No. 1 party he has spoken at was an Eric Church celebration. “Eric is one of the best songwriters this town has ever seen. Sea Gayle is honored to be a part of this song.

“I got Bobby Pinson right here,” said Groover. “Ten No. 1s, third one this year. Bobby’s one of the most talented humans I’ve gotten to work with. At the show at Nissan, I got to watch Clint and Bobby hug each other while ‘Some Of It’ was being played. That was some the coolest shit I’ve ever seen.”

Groover made sure to thank Church and the UMG Nashville radio promotion staff.

Pictured (L-R): Sea Gayle Music’s Brandon Gregg, Emily Witters and Marc Driskill; co-writers Bobby Pinson, Eric Church and Clint Daniels; Sea Gayle Music’s JD Groover and Kim Wiggins. Photo: Anthony D’Angio

Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg repeated the praises of Church. “It’s such a special thing when you get to work with a once in a generational talent like Eric Church. He’s a man that does not come around very often.

“As an entertainer, you continue to change the world. You’re out there doing things that nobody else is even thinking about doing until you get out there and do it. And then as a songwriter, which is why we’re here to celebrate you today, I think you’re transcendent. I don’t care when these songs were written, I think they’d be special. I think they’d matter,” Van Valkenburg said to Church.

Van Valkenburg thanked the Universal Nashville team, Church’s management at Q Prime South, the publishers and the songwriters.

UMG’s Mike Dungan recognized his passionate UMG team. “I’ve never seen a team love an artist more than these guys love Eric Church,” he said.

“This is usually where I talk about how much we love you,” the label head said to Church. “I can say it again, but we’ve done it. The only thing I can say that is pretty consistent is the music is pretty shitty out there right now; and all of us wake up every day very grateful that we have Eric Church on the team because we’re always going to have good stuff.”

Dungan introduced a special video of artists paying tribute to Church. The video included appearances from Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Luke Combs, Ashley McBryde, Ray Wylie Hubbard and more.

Pictured (L-R): MusicRow‘s Sherod Robertson; co-writers Jeff Hyde and Bobby Pinson with their No. 1 Challenge Coins; UMG Nashville’s Mike Dungan; Eric Church; Clint Daniels; Luke Dick; MusicRow‘s LB Rogers. Photo: Steve Lowry

When the songwriters stepped up to speak, they each were honored to have worked with the revered Church.

“I just want to see thank you very much to Eric, Luke, Bobby and Clint. It’s a real privilege for me to be able to do what I do for a living,” Hyde said. “A lot of talented people have helped me along the way.”

Hyde gave a shout out to Church’s band and crew, the promotion staff, and his wife and three-month-old son. “I feel like any good idea I’ve ever been a part of, or that I’ve had has been a gift from God.”

“I just want to thank Eric, I really feel grateful dude,” said Daniels. “You’re the closest thing to Merle Haggard we will ever know.” Church threw his head back at that comment.

Pinson proved to be a hilarious and proficient speaker, as he told stories about his relationships with each of his co-writers and thanked those involved in the success.

“Before I say anything else, I want to thank God for his grace, his sense of humor, and his extremely short memory,” Pinson said with a grin. “And for blessing me with a gift that is definitely not of me, but of God.

“I wrote one of my favorite songs with two of my favorite people, and that’s not easy to do in this town. At the end of the day, you don’t write your biggest songs with the biggest writers. You write songs you love with people you love,” Pinson said.

“When I was in New York this writer showed me this track that was ‘Smoke A Little Smoke.’ And I said, ‘Is this what Nashville is doing now? Because if this is what Nashville is doing, then I want to be a part of it.’ I came back to Nashville with stars in my eyes and it turns out that’s not what Nashville was doing, it was what Eric was doing,” Dick said.

Dick said he and Church wrote “Kill A Word” and “Round Here Buzz” on the same day. “It was the luckiest day of my life,” he said.

When it came time for the man of the hour to speak, everyone in the room leaned in.

Church thanked his wife and kids, who were in attendance, and made sure to thank Howard. “Perry was my hail mary,” Church said. “He was somebody that I went to when I was trying to get something going at the time and just couldn’t get anybody to meet with me to hear my songs—and I had some pretty good songs. I think I played Perry ‘Sinners Like Me,’ ‘Lightning,’ ‘Pledge Allegiance To The Hag,’ and ‘Guys Like Me.’ He was a guy that took that meeting.”

Church thanked his band and crew, his promotion team, the label and John Peets and Q Prime Management.

“That video was something I’m not ready to address yet,” said Church with emotion in his voice. “That was one of the coolest things—no, that’s about the coolest thing I’ve been a part of… My intention was always just to try to make great music, write great songs. And to see it matter is really something.

“But I will say this after seeing the video; I’m not done. I’m not retiring. I’m not dying… I look forward to kicking their asses every night on stage,” he concluded with a smirk.


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About the Author

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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