When walking into Losers Bar & Grill in Nashville’s Midtown on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 17), any heavy worries seemed to become lighter as members of the music community gathered to celebrate Chris Young and Mitchell Tenpenny‘s No. 1 hit “At the End of a Bar,” which the artists wrote alongside Chris DeStefano, who co-produced the track with Young. The happy, relaxed energy within the venue elicited a mental exhale, creating a space for everyone to finally honor the 2022 chart-topper’s contributors.
BMI’s Mason Hunter welcomed everyone and called the writers to the stage. Hunter then said a few words about BMI affiliates Young and Tenpenny, noting that they’d both been with the PRO for over a decade. Hunter shared that “At the End of a Bar” marked Young’s 13th No. 1 as an artist and Tenpenny’s third. He went on to talk about their philanthropic endeavors, detailing Young’s work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Tenpenny’s 10Penny Foundation, which recently raised over $92,000 with its annual Cornhole Tournament.
ASCAP’s Evyn Johnston took the floor next to talk about DeStefano. She shared that DeStefano has been affiliated with the PRO for over 25 years and has written multiple hits, with “At the End of a Bar” being his 20th No. 1. Johnston listed the WinSongs Music Publishing President & CEO’s numerous accolades, including his three CMA Triple Play Award wins as well as his three Grammy wins and more. She showed the party that DeStefano is a man of many talents, disclosing that he is also the active emergency back-up goaltender for the Nashville Predators.
Next up was Riser House’s Brandon Perdue to expand on Tenpenny’s accomplishments and the birth of “At the End of a Bar.” He reminisced on the day of the writing session and stated that if you put “three of the best writers in town” in a room, you will oftentimes end up with “a melody that is radio gold.” Perdue concluded by thanking the Sony team and everyone involved in the song.
“Reverend” Rusty Gaston of Sony Music Publishing Nashville then took the mic. He started by expressing his appreciation for BMI and ASCAP. Gaston moved on to talk about how DeStefano “uses his momentum to build up other people” before diving into the Tenpenny’s family history with Sony. He talked about Tenpenny’s original approach to music, and told the artist that Sony “would always be in [his] corner.” Gaston finished by addressing Young and recognizing Universal Music Group Publishing (UMPG) Nashville’s Cyndi Forman, who first worked with the hit-maker when the song came into existence. He stated that Young “doesn’t let his emotions make his decisions for him, he really thinks about things, and he brings that into the writing room. When you hear songs like ‘At the End of a Bar,’ you hear his intention.”
Studio Bank’s Ron Cox was on deck next. He reminded us all what a gift being in the Nashville music industry is.
“Isn’t this just incredible that we get to do this? When you look around this room at the friends and the fellowship, it truly is a community,” he expressed. “The fact that we come together as a community to celebrate our great writers and our great artists is something very special and unique to Nashville.”
He continued by describing Studio Bank’s gratitude for and commitment to supporting the city’s musical talent. Cox then announced that a donation had been on behalf of the writers to St. Jude.
RCA Nashville’s Dennis Reese followed and took a moment to thank the individuals who supported the single, and explained its special timing and creation.
Finally, it was time for the talented tunesmiths to address the crowd. DeStefano went first, and seized what he described as “the perfect opportunity to thank everybody that [plays] such a big part in our lives.” He shouted out his wife and their two children, who were present, for their support as well as his Sony Music Publishing Nashville and ASCAP families, RCA Nashville and the radio promotion teams, his WinSongs crew and all the organizations that uplift songwriters. DeStefano went to thank his co-writers, sharing that he actually met Young at the end of a bar before spotlighting his collaborators individually.
“Thank you, [Chris] for being as much of a songwriter as you are a singer, and in my opinion, one of the best singers. Mitchell, you’re such an inspiration. I love working with you, you’re [also] top tier in the world in my opinion and a superstar in the making.”
Tenpenny was next and didn’t skip a beat when it came to expressing his gratitude for his teams all across the board including his wife, fellow artist Meghan Patrick, in addition to his management, Riser House, Sony Music Publishing and Sony Music Nashville. He recalled attending No. 1 parties growing up and everything he learned from his mother and grandmother, industry veterans Debbie Tenpenny and Donna Hilley. Tenpenny also recognized his co-writers and the whole room, while sharing that he, too, met Young at the end of a bar.
“You look around and there’s a million people in here that do everything every single day for us so that we can do this. Thank you for letting us write songs for a living and for letting us go on the road and perform them, I mean that from the bottom of my heart. The songwriters speak for themselves, thank you for letting me in the room with you.”
Young then brought it home by thanking his mother Becky Harris and her business partner Donna Huskins, RCA Nashville/Sony Music Nashville and all of the promotion team members involved, as well as UMPG Nashville, Sony Music Publishing Nashville and more. He shifted to praising Tenpenny and DeStefano, and highlighted their incredible ability to entertain.
“We are absolutely going to celebrate [this song] because this does not happen everyday. I refuse to let anybody downplay the fact that it’s been little a while [since it went No. 1]. We are going to celebrate this song, because it’s a big deal to me, it’s big deal to these guys on stage and it’s a big deal to everyone who has been involved.”
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