Brantley Gilbert, Lindsay Ell Celebrate Chart-Topper “What Happens In A Small Town”

Pictured (L-R, back row): Greg Beeckman (Revelry Music Group), AJ Burton (Revelry Music Group), Kevin Lane (Kobalt), George Briner (The Valory Music Co.), Leslie Roberts (BMI), Scott Borchetta (BMLG), Ryan Beuschel (Warner Chappell) and Will Overton (Warner Chappell); (L-R, front row): Josh Dunne, Lindsay Ell, Brantley Gilbert, Brock Berryhill, Rhett Akins, Allison Jones (BMLG). Photo: Steve Lowry

Music City recently celebrated its first No. 1 party of the new decade, honoring The Valory Music Co. artist Brantley Gilbert and Stoney Creek Records artist Lindsay Ell’s “What Happens In A Small Town.” The track marks Gilbert’s fifth No. 1 as an artist and his seventh as a songwriter.

Ell earned her very first No. 1 hit with the churning ballad, which laments the difficulty in ever truly leaving a relationship behind when you live in a tight-knit community.

Members of Nashville’s music industry gathered at Music City Indoor Karting on Jan. 8, for a party hosted by BMI.

Gilbert penned the track with Rhett Akins, Josh Dunne and Brock Berryhill. Dunne celebrated his very first No. 1 with the hit, while “What Happens In A Small Town” is Akins’s 31st chart-topper, and Berryhill’s second.

Pictured (L-R): Basak Kizilisik (Morris Higham Management), Buffy Cooper (Morris Higham Management), Aaron Keiser (Morris Higham Management), Brantley Gilbert, Clint Higham (Morris Higham Management). Photo: Steve Lowry

BMI’s Leslie Roberts hosted the event, which saw BMLG powerhouses Scott Borchetta, George Briner, Jake Basden, and Allison Jones, Revelry Music Group’s Greg Beeckman and AJ Burton, Kobalt’s Kevin Lane, Warner Chappell’s Ryan Beuschel and Will Overton, Morris Higham’s Clint Higham, Basak Kizilisik, Buffy Cooper, and Aaron Keiser among the attendees.

Brantley thanked his co-writers and his label team at Big Machine Label Group, as well as his new management home at Morris Higham; “What Happens In A Small Town” marks his first No. 1 since joining the management company. Gilbert also thanked Ell for joining him on the song. “When you look for a duet partner, you want somebody that is not only going to pull their weight but exceed expectations. You did that and more. I’m honored to share this stage and this song with you,” he said.

Pictured (L-R, back row): Chris Palmer (The Valory Music Co.), George Briner (The Valory Music Co.), Scott Borchetta (BMLG), Jake Basden (BMLG), Allison Jones (BMLG), Ashley Sidoti (The Valory Music Co.); (L-R, front row): Brooke Nixon (The Valory Music Co.), Josh Dunne, Lindsay Ell, Brantley Gilbert, Brock Berryhill, Rhett Akins. Athena Puharic (The Valory Music Co.). Photo: Steve Lowry

Ell, meanwhile, offered thanks to Brantley and his co-writers, as well as to Borchetta, for bringing her on as part of the project.

“The fact that you were the person to bring up my name and mention it to Brantley in that conference room, I’m truly humbled and honored,” she told Borchetta. “When you have a full roster of artists and pretty much anybody at your fingertips and you guys wanted me to be a part of this song, thank you from the bottom of my heart for changing my life.”

She also thanked The BBR Music Group CEO Jon Loba. “A huge thank you to Jon Loba. You have stood by me in this town ever since I got here. I have been in Nashville for 10 years and there are not a lot of labels that would stand by an artist and keep saying, ‘We just have to find the right 3 minutes,’ and you have told me that sentence so many times.”

Both Gilbert and Ell recently released new songs to country radio, including Gilbert’s “Fire’t Up” and Ell’s “I Don’t Love You.”

Pictured (L-R): George Briner (The Valory Music Co.), Brantley Gilbert, Lindsay Ell, Scott Borchetta (BMLG). Photo: Steve Lowry

Pictured (L-R): Josh Dunne, Lindsay Ell, Brantley Gilbert,Brock Berryhill, Rhett Akins. Photo: Steve Lowry


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About the Author

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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