Justin Moore celebrated his 8th No. 1 single, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home,” along with co-writers Jeremy Stover, Chase McGill and Paul DiGiovanni, at a party hosted by ASCAP and BMI at The Sutler in Nashville yesterday (Feb. 5).
The “war-themed, power ballad” was Stover’s seventh No. 1, McGill’s fourth, and DiGiovanni’s second. Stover also co-produced the track with Big Machine Label Group head Scott Borchetta.
The heartfelt party ended with a special presentation to Assistant Chief Daryl Davis of the Nashville Fire Department. Assistant Chief Davis was kind enough to allow Moore to film the official music video for the song at a fire station in his district to highlight the real-life sacrifices of his servicemen and servicewomen who put themselves on the front lines every day.
BMI’s Josh Tomlinson lead the party and spoke about BMI-affiliated Moore and McGill. Tomlinson announced that Pinnacle Financial, BMI’s partner in No. 1 songs, had made a donation in honor of the song to the Nashville fire department. ASCAP’s Holly Chester was on hand to congratulate Stover and DiGiovanni.
Among those who expressed their congratulations were UMPG’s Missy Roberts and Travis Gordon.
“I met Paul about four and a half years ago, and shortly into that first meeting, I knew I had to work with him for the same reasons so many in this community have quickly come to love Paul,” Roberts said of DiGiovanni. “He is one of the most positive, talented, humble and hardest-working people I know.”
“In the past two years, Chase has secured 50 major label cuts, four No. 1’s, two Grammy nominations, ACM Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year nominations, and he took home the NSAI Song of the Year award last year,” Gordon said of McGill. “Even with all the songwriter accolades in the past and those certainly to come in the future, I’m even more proud of how much work and time you put into your faith and your family. I’m quite certain by the time this is all done, the dad and husband you’ve become will be the best song you’ve ever written.”
Anthem Entertainment’s Tim Hunze was on hand to speak on the impact of the song. “I’ve had, as of this month, 27 years in the music business and one of the reasons we do what we do are for songs like this. It honestly means a lot to me when you guys honor these kinds of people, because it matters. Knowing what’s left behind when they don’t come home, it’s really hard. So thank you for that.” Hunze revealed that his brother-in-law passed away while serving in Iraq.
“My man Jeremy, we’ve been knowing each other for 20 years and one of the most exciting things when I came over to Anthem last year was I knew I would get to work with Jeremy again,” Hunze said of Stover. “This guy’s work ethic is beyond most people. We talk about how hard these guys work, but this guy has a company, he’s a producer and a songwriter, he has a family and three amazing kids and wife. It’s a pleasure to work with somebody like that. It’s an honor to represent you.”
Big Machine Music’s Mike Molinar summed up the sentiment of “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home.”
“I’m just proud to be in country music where we get these messages,” he said. “We get to have these songs on the radio and we get to give people a place where it stops them in their tracks and helps them remember that there are people laying their lives down for us and that we should celebrate all of what they do for us and what that provides in our lives.
“Every generation in country seems to have songs like this, from ‘Ragged Old Flag,’ ‘Arlington’ and ‘Letters From Home.’ This is this generation’s song. This is not going away, that’s because of how well you guys wrote it and how you just sing the shit out of everything,” Molinar said to Moore. “Congratulations and thank you, from us, for having the presence of mind to give this gift to our lives.”
Big Machine Label Group President/CEO, and co-producer of the track, Scott Borchetta had a lot to say about Moore.
“Justin has been a part of the Big Machine Label Group really from its inception,” Borchetta said. “He goes all the way back to 2005 and 2006 when we were launching. During 2006, when he was officially signed, we were trying to figure out the best way to release his music and at that point, we had Jack Ingram blowing up, we had Taylor [Swift] blowing up, we were doing records with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood and I had to go to Justin and say, ‘Look, I’ve got an idea. If you’ll trust me, I think it will work. I’m going to start a second imprint and I want you to be one of the lead artists on this imprint.’ He and Pete [Hartung, Moore’s manager] trusted us that we would take care of his music. He goes, ‘Man, if you’ve got my back, I’ve got your back.’ So, thanks for having my back,” he said to Moore.
“Eight No. 1 singles, over 3 million albums sold, countless incredible live appearances and experiences, and he has absolutely established himself as one of the torch-bearers for traditional country music. There’s not a better singer anywhere,” Borchetta said.
GM of The Valory Music Co. George Briner also spoke about Moore’s success and their partnership of 15 years with the ACM Award-winning artist.
Stover was the first of the song’s co-writers to speak during the occasion. He thanked Moore, his co-writers, Big Machine and Borchetta, Briner and The Valory Music Co.’s radio promotion staff, Pete Hartung and L3 Entertainment, ASCAP, the musicians that played on the record, engineers, his team at Red Creative Group’s Brooke Antonakos and Taylor Lamb, Anthem Entertainment and Tim Hunze, and his family.
“This song is for those who have sacrificed abroad and at home, I’m very happy to be here today with a lot of friends, some who served and sacrificed. Thank you,” Stover said with emotion.
“It’s an honor to be up here, not only with these guys celebrating a No. 1, but with how important of a song this is. I’ve had complete strangers and people I’ve known my entire life come up to me and tell me their version of this story and be vulnerable and share with me how much it means to them. That’s a really cool thing and I don’t know if I expected to ever be a part of something as moving as this,” DiGiovanni said. He thanked Moore, his co-writers, UMPG and Missy Roberts, Big Machine and the radio team, his family and the Green Bay Packers for letting them write the song in their parking lot.
“I’ve got to thank Jesus, I believe that if his forgiveness and love wasn’t real, then there is no possibility of me being on this stage right now and getting to do what I do. So I’ve got to thank him for the gifts he’s given me and these guys and for putting it in the hearts of the men and women we wrote this song about to go fight, and die if necessary, so that a couple of rednecks and a guy from Boston can go drink beer and write a country music song,” McGill said. He thanked his wife and family, UMG and Travis Gordon, his co-writers, BMI, the label and team.
Next it was time for the man of the hour to speak. He thanked BMI, Borchetta and The Valory Music Co., Hartung and L3 Entertainment, his band and crew, his co-writers, WME, and his family.
“From an artist’s perspective, it’s always great to enjoy the success of a hit song. Your pay goes up with each No. 1 and you get a little press, and this and that, it’s even more special when you have a song like this,” Moore said. “Very few artists have one of these songs and now to have a couple if you include ‘If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,’ I feel incredibly fortunate. It’s more than just a hit song. The fact that men and women will come up and share their stories with me at a supermarket and thank me for writing or recording the song, it should be the other way around. It never gets old to hear those stories. I just feel proud to be a small part of this record.
“Of all of the people that I’ve mentioned, most importantly I want to send this out and the success and the platform that this song has provided to the men and women that the four of us wrote this song about. The men and women who not only serve our military but police officers, firefighters, all of our first responders, coast guard, teachers, nurses; the list goes on and on. Really the credit goes to those men and women. For that, I thank you,” Moore summed.
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