Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 23), industry members came together at BMI to celebrate Parmalee‘s hit “Take My Name.”
The atmosphere inside felt as warm and sunny as it did outside in the summer heat as everyone gathered around the black high table-tops sprinkled throughout the room. BMI’s Josh Tomlinson stepped on stage to host and called the Stoney Creek recording group and the songwriters up to join him.
Tomlinson began by congratulating BMI writers Ben Johnson, David Fanning, and band member Matt Thomas. “I have a feeling this song is probably the soundtrack to a lot of couples’ memories around the world,” he said. The BMI Director of Creative then introduced ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, who welcomed ASCAP CEO Beth Matthews and praised songwriter and Tape Room Music owner Ashley Gorley for his success “at a level never seen before.” Sistad added, “Ashley, we’re proud you’re part of the ASCAP family. Thank you so much for being a part of us and congratulations on another No. 1.”
The wedding song written on a snow day marks Gorley’s 62nd No. 1 hit and his first No. 1 with Sony Music Publishing. The 8-time ASCAP songwriter of the year and 4-time Billboard country songwriter of year will be recognized as Songwriter of the Decade by NSAI in the weeks to come. Toward the end of the event, Fanning reiterated his co-writer’s talent by sharing the voice recording Gorley sent him while the snow was falling in which he shares the idea for the song and sings a portion of the chorus.
Next up was Blain Rhodes from Tape Room Music. Beer in hand, he marveled at how “this band and [BBR] are putting out smash after smash.” Rhodes brought to everyone’s attention that Johnson is not even 30 and has already accomplished so much in his career, noting his seven country No. 1s; awards for BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC’s Song of Year; and his Grammy nomination for Rock Song of the Year. The Track45 band member is also a producer and has worked with artists such as Kylie Morgan and Hunter Phelps.
Sony Music Publishing’s Rusty Gaston was on deck to speak next. “This is an exciting time for country music and a crazy exciting time for the band Parmalee,” Gaston said. “What I love most about the music business, and getting to work with songwriters in general, is the fact that we get to have a front row seat to watch dreamers go to work and then watch those dreams come to life. We are all getting to watch Matt Thomas’ dream come true right now.”
Gaston noted that, like many artists, Parmalee’s journey has not been an easy one, “but Matt and the guys in his band never lost heart.” He praised BBR’s Jon Loba and JoJamie Hahr for their success and also gave shout outs to Sony Music Publishing’s Tom Luteran, 33 Creative’s Tina Crawford, and Fanning for having the band’s back since the beginning.
“This is the first No. 1 party I’ve had to speak at, and I can’t believe I have to follow Rusty Gaston,” joked Lindsay Will of Round Hill Music. She sung her praises to the songwriters, noting that in lieu of a plaque, Round Hill Music would be making a donation to the My Life Speaks foundation of behalf of Gorley.
Reservoir’s John Ozier declared that “everything about the song was perfect.” Ozier congratulated Fanning on his first No. 1 as a songwriter and reminded everyone that he also co-wrote and produced Parmalee’s first single “Musta Had a Good Time” in 2012. He also acknowledged Crawford and the risk she took on the band, as well as Reservoir’s VP of Creative Greg Gallo and the significant role he played in bringing Fanning to Reservoir.
Jim Landers from Pinnacle Bank reminisced on celebrating the group’s hit “Carolina” in 2014 and congratulated them on their achievement. Landers announced that in place of plaque, Pinnacle Bank made a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Loba stepped up next to talk about the band’s future. “If these guys are not nominated for Group of Year at the CMAs and ACMs, it will be criminal,”stated the label president.
Gorley followed and thanked his co-writers, his publishers, and ASCAP. He also thanked God, his family, and the crowd for coming out. Gorley commented on the fact that “Take My Name” had remained in the top echelons of the chart nine weeks after hitting No. 1. “Thank you Stoney Creek. Everybody has echoed it but they have been up here a lot lately because they work like crazy. They believe in these songs and they push them,” he said.
A long-awaited moment for the artist/producer/songwriter, Johnson hopped on stage to share his excitement for his first No. 1 party and to applaud his co-writers, the Tape Room Music team, and BMG.
“I’m pretty sure every single publisher in all of Nashville told me ‘no’ at one point, and then Ashley told me ‘yes’ and changed my life,” he shared. “It is so special that not only is this with Tape Room, but it’s with BMG, who believed in me, my music, and [Track45] two years ago. We are signed to Stoney Creek as well, so just another reason I’m glad this is my first No. 1 party.” He concluded by thanking his wife Lauren—who is “more important to [him] than any No. 1 [he has] ever had”—his sisters who were unable to attend, and everyone involved in the project.
Finally, an emotional Thomas took the mic. The band leader said, “So many people in here have been with us since day one, and it’s awesome to stand on this stage right here 10 years later.” Thomas acknowledged his family’s presence in the audience and went on to thank everyone that has accompanied Parmalee on their journey to success.
“We’ve been a band for a very long time and we’re all brothers,” added band member Barry Knox. He took time to recognize all of Thomas’s hard work and made known how much the band appreciates him and his efforts.
Co-writer, Parmalee manager, and producer Fanning recapped how the hit came to be, sharing that the group agreed that the song was “the coolest way to ask, ‘will you marry me?'” He told the crowd how proud he is to work with everyone at Stoney Creek, and brought it home by emphasizing Loba’s view on the CMA and ACM nomination. “Voting is come up!” he said with grin.
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