Music Row’s elves left their offices early and spent much of Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 14) toasting the success of “Suds in the Bucket,” Sara Evans latest No. 1 single. The song’s writers — Billy Montana and Jenai — were honored at two separate parties at the Nashville offices of ASCAP and BMI, the major performance rights organizations. Jenai is a member of ASCAP, Montana of BMI.
Both writers met with reporters before the parties got underway. At ASCAP, Jenai philosophized about the mystery of songwriting: “One never knows when you go into a room what’s going to come out when you write. It can be terrible or it can be magic. Writing with Billy is always magic.”
ASCAP officials inducted Jenai into its No. 1 Club and presented her with some real “suds” — two buckets filled with Fat Tire Belgium Ale, a regional beer sold in the songwriter’s native Idaho.
Evans was on her way to her son Avery’s kindergarten Christmas pageant when she showed up for the BMI bash. She told reporters her 5-year-old had a starring role as Joseph. “He has three solos,” she added proudly.
Evans said that because she recorded more songs than she needed for her current album, Restless, some people at her record label, RCA, suggested she drop “Suds in the Bucket.” But she refused.
“I’m amazed at how well this song did,” she remarked later. “I loved it from the first time I heard [the] demo.” She described her new single, “Tonight,” as “really sexual, really sensual.”
Speaking to reporters about “Suds” before the BMI event began, Montana said, “It is rare when I remember the details of a song coming together. … We were looking to write an uptempo story song … with country language. … I felt like that title sort of fell out of the sky.”
“We were sent to write this song for somebody else, but they passed,” Jenai confided. At the urging of the reporters, she revealed that the “somebody else” was Lee Ann Womack, who, at the time, was looking to take a more country direction with her music.
“I have a tendency to gravitate toward change-the-world type songs,” Montana explained. “It was a real coup for me to have success with a song of this nature.”
A singer as well as a songwriter, Jenai released her first album last year on Curb Records. It was called Cool Me Down. She has since switched to Moraine Records, where she has just completed her second album with producer Brent Maher, best known for producing the Judds’ long string of hits. Jenai said the album will be out in early 2005.