Well-wishers packed the cavernous lobby of BMI’s Nashville headquarters Wednesday (March 9) to toast the writers of “Bless the Broken Road,” Rascal Flatt’s latest No. 1 single. The hit trio of Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney was also on hand to share the praise.
Written by Marcus Hummon, Bobby E. Boyd and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Jeff Hanna, “Bless the Broken Road” was recorded three times before Flatts took their home-run turn at it. Melodie Crittenden released it as a single and music video on Asylum Records in 1997, and Hummon included it on his 1995 album for Sony Music, All in Good Time. Geoff Moore & the Distance, a Christian music group, also cut the song. Rascal Flatts’ version is currently up for the Academy of Country Music’s song and single of the year.
“This song was inspired by my life,” Boyd told the partygoers, “but I realized it was everybody’s life.” He thanked God for the song, to which Hummon responded, “Well, no wonder it went No. 1 so long. We had people praying for it.” (The song topped the Billboard charts for five consecutive weeks.) Co-writer Hanna was unable to attend the celebration.
When Rascal Flatts joined the writers on stage to receive their awards, DeMarcus, the group’s resident wit, joked, “It was an easy decision to cut a song like this when you guys agreed to give up half your publishing [rights] on it.”
Before the party started, the group met with reporters. They announced that “Fast Cars and Freedom” will be the follow-up single to “Broken Road” and that they will be shooting a live performance video of “Here’s to You” in Memphis on Friday (March 11), even though that song will probably not be released as a single. “Here’s to You” is also the name of their tour this year, the first leg of which they’ve just concluded.
On March 23, Lyric Street Records will host a party for the group at the Country Music Hall of Fame to celebrate its sale of 6 million albums. They will soon begin recording a new album with producer Dann Huff.
LeVox explained that Flatts had originally had “Bless the Broken Road” on hold for their Melt album but had finally decided to pass. “We loved the song and loved the message of the song,” he said. ‘It kept coming up.”