(L-R): Songwriter Chris Tompkins, Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard, Jason Aldean, FGL’s Brian Kelley, Songwriter Rodney Clawson. Photo: John Russell
Industry members had a unique opportunity Tuesday (Aug. 11) to celebrate Jason Aldean‘s back-to-back No. 1 songs with the artist and songwriters at Nashville’s City Winery.
The three consecutive No. 1 hits, “Burnin’ It Down,” “Just Gettin’ Started” and “Tonight Looks Good On You,” from Aldean’s platinum album, Old Boots, New Dirt, brought friends and family together for a one-of-a-kind progressive industry party, which moved throughout the venue celebrating each song.
Invited guests first joined Aldean in the large performance hall with songwriters Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, Chris Tompkins and Rodney Clawson to celebrate the album’s lead single “Burnin’ It Down.”
Celebrating Jason Aldean’s No. 1 hit “Burnin’ It Down.” (L-R): (Back row): BBR Music Group’s Jon Loba and Benny Brown, BMI’s Bradley Collins, producer Michael Knox, Big Loud Shirt’s Craig Wiseman and Matt Turner, Round Hill’s Mark Brown and ASCAP’s Mike Sistad. (Front row): songwriter Chris Tompkins, BMI songwriter Tyler Hubbard, BMI affiliate Jason Aldean, BMI songwriters Brian Kelley and Rodney Clawson.
“Burnin’ It Down”
BMI’s Bradley Collins welcomed the enthusiastic crowd with a shout out to Aldean’s producer Michael Knox, who is celebrating a birthday today (Aug. 13) amidst all his other accolades. ASCAP’s Mike Sistad joined in the celebration before bringing up Big Loud Shirt’s Craig Wiseman who was thrilled to be representing the writers proclaiming, “Today, we are stackin’ up some plaques!” Round Hill’s Mark Brown joined in the ceremony before Broken Bow’s Jon Loba shared his gratitude of everyone’s efforts and emphasizing the benefits of risk-taking. “That’s when great things can happen,” shared Loba, giving a thankful nod to BBR label head Benny Brown.
Avenue Bank’s Ron Cox, CRB’s RJ Curtis and CMA’s Brandi Simms and Brenden Oliver also made the rounds to each of the three celebrations expressing their congratulations to Aldean, the songwriters and supporting industry team members. Avenue Bank is a partner with the No. 1 celebrations, making a donation in the songwriters’ names to a charity they support.
Then it was time for the songwriters. Tompkins talked about “Burnin’ It Down” and admitted, “It’s a song I can listen to and enjoy as a listener.” Clawson addressed the other co-writers saying, “Thank you for helping me buy a house in Green Hills.” Kelley and Hubbard gave humbling thanks to Aldean saying, “You gave us the opportunity and we are grateful. It’s a dream come true.” Aldean admitted, “We were a little nervous to put this out. To me, the ones you take a risk on are the ones that pay off the biggest,” before reminding us it was this song that he built his tour around.
(L-R): Songwriter Chris DeStefano, Aldean, songwriters Ashley Gorley and Rhett Akins. Photo: John Russell
“Just Gettin’ Started”
Next up, the party moved to City Winery’s main dining room for accolades on “Just Gettin’ Started,” written by Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley, and Rhett Akins.
BMI’s Leslie Roberts greeted everyone sharing that Rhett “is a great mentor… and takes time for the up-and-comers.” She thanked Knox saying, “You have believed in Jason from the beginning.” ASCAP’s John Titta was next to honor DeStefano and Gorley before Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg said, “Not one bit of it was luck.” Warner Chappell’s Ben Vaughn articulated what everyone was thinking, “This might be the coolest No. 1 party ever.”
Celebrating Jason Aldean’s No. 1 hit “Just Gettin’ Started.” (L-R): (Back row): BMI’s Leslie Roberts, Combustion Music’s Chris Farren, ASCAP’s John Titta and Sony/ATV’s Josh VanValkenburg. (Front row): songwriter Chris DeStefano, BMI affiliate Jason Aldean, songwriter Ashley Gorley, BMI songwriter Rhett Akins and producer Michael Knox.
Akins shared, “It’s an unbelievable text when you see that [Michael] Knox dug the song.” In a comical turn, Akins revealed he had stopped at Walmart to buy shampoo earlier that day but threw away the receipt before leaving the store. To make sure he wasn’t shoplifting, security stopped him at the door. Akins jokingly admitted it would have been funny to go from being arrested to attending the No. 1 party. The audience agreed.
Gorley was next to dote on Aldean, “What makes Jason great is that he knows who he is and he knows what he wants.” DeStefano added, “There are good days and there are good days. Nashville is, without question, the most amazing place in the world because of the community.” As a side note, both Van Valkenburg and Gorley served as best men at DeStefano’s wedding.
(L-R) Songwriters Ashley Gorley and Dallas Davidson, Aldean, and Songwriter Rhett Akins. Photo: John Russell
“Tonight Looks Good On You”
Closing out the evening in the upstairs loft, the festive crowd celebrated the chart-topping success of “Tonight Looks Good On You.” Written by Akins, Dallas Davidson and Gorley, it is Aldean’s 16th career No. 1.
BMI’s Jody Williams started the third round reminding us that Peach Picker Dallas Davidson’s first No. 1 was “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.” Sony/ATV’s Tom Luteran squelched the giggling saying, “These three writers have 62 No. 1 songs combined. Adding Jason [Adlean] and Michael [Knox], you get to 95.”
Titta joked, “This is like Nashville’s version of Groundhog Day.” Combustion Music’s Chris Farren, who has been partners with Gorley for 15 years, added, “I’m inspired by him.” BBR’s Benny Brown, Lee Adams and Rick Shedd took the opportunity to present platinum plaques commemorating Aldean’s New Boots Old Dirt selling over a million copies.
Celebrating Jason Aldean’s No. 1 hit “Tonight Looks Good On You.” (L-R): Warner Chappell’s Ben Vaugh, ASCAP’s John Titta, BBR Music Group’s Benny Brown, SONY/ATV’s Tom Luteran, BMI songwriter Rhett Akins, Combustion Music’s Chris Farren, songwriter Ashley Gorley, BMI songwriter Dallas Davidson, BMI affiliate Jason Aldean producer Michael Knox and BMI’s Jody Williams.
Akins gave kudos to Aldean’s band, reminding everyone the band members actually play on his records so when fans come to a performance, it sounds just like his recordings. Akins also shared he first pitched the song to his son, Thomas Rhett who was interested in recording it. But soon after, Aldean claimed it for himself.
Davidson came to the mic saying, “Thank God for giving us the blessing to write songs,” before adding, “You don’t get a party for No. 2 so thanks to the promotion staff.” Gorley admitted, “There’s so many people that help get the song to No. 1 that we don’t even know and we are grateful.”
“What else can we say?” shared Aldean. “It’s cool to have a song like this to show a different side of you. We are working on a new record and I think some of the guys will have cuts on it too.”
Jody Williams concluded,“We have the greatest songwriting community in the world. It doesn’t happen anywhere else.”
With his staff, Producer Michael Knox celebrates three No. 1s for Jason Aldean, as well as a birthday this week. (L-R): Jennifer Crouch, Michael Tyler, Kim Wiggins, Rachel Farley, Shalacy Griffin, Knox and Craig Currier. Photo: C. McTyre