Music Row Tips Its Hat to Writers of Emerson Drive’s “Moments”

Sam and Annie Tate, Dave Berg Feted at Two Parties

“Moments” stretched into hours Monday afternoon (July 30) as workers on Music Row took time off to attend back-to-back No. 1 parties for the recent Emerson Drive hit of that title.

ASCAP set the festivities in motion at 3 p.m. with a celebration at its Nashville headquarters for “Moments” co-writer Dave Berg. Afterward, the celebrants streamed up the street for a 5 p.m. bash at SESAC, a competing performance rights organization, to honor the song’s other writers, Sam and Annie Tate.

“Moments,” which describes a life-sustaining encounter between a homeless man and a would-be suicide, is both the first No. 1 for Emerson Drive and for their label, Midas Records.

Also taking their bows at both parties were the song’s co-producers, Josh Leo and Alabama’s Teddy Gentry.

ASCAP chief Connie Bradley welcomed Berg’s parents, who had traveled from their home in Portland, Ore., for the parties. She noted this was the third No. 1 Berg had composed [all with the Tates] and that he is currently represented on the charts by another top-spot contender, “These Are My People,” as recorded by Rodney Atkins.

“This song is like six years old,” Berg told the ASCAP crowd. “Not a lot of people understood [it] at first.” Brad Mates, Emerson Drive’s lead singer, acknowledged the excitement the song created as it inched up the charts. “Over the last two months,” he said, “it feels like this party has been going on.”

The band kicked off the formal segment of the SESAC celebration by performing the song to a packed house. Mates marveled at the band’s good fortune “to be the artists who take his song on the road for 220 days a year and hear the incredible feedback.”

Tim Fink, SESAC’s associate vice president of writer-publisher relations, told the Tates, “It’s been such a pleasure to have you guys a part of the family for almost 13 years now.” He pointed out that the Tates [writing with Berg] were specialists in providing artists breakthrough hits, citing that their “Someday” had become Reba McEntire’s “first No. 1 in years” and that “If You’re Goin’ Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)” was also Rodney Atkins’ first No. 1.

“This song is bigger than all of us,” Annie Tate told the well-wishers. Then, turning to her husband and co-writer, she joked, “Thank you, Sam, for having such a crappy life to write about.”

Sam Tate explained the references in the song to “the plane ride coming back from the war” and “that summer that my son was born” were both plucked from his personal history and that they had, indeed, been “two of the greatest moments in my life.” The third greatest moment, he said, was celebrating the song that spotlighted those events.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to