Kenny Chesney Helps Toast “Don’t Blink”

Writers Chris Wallin and Casey Beathard Honored for the Current No. 1 Single

Kenny Chesney took a recess Monday (Nov. 5) from rehearsing for the CMA Awards show to participate in a No. 1 party for his current single, “Don’t Blink.” Held at ASCAP’s Nashville headquarters, the event specifically honored the song’s co-writers, Chris Wallin and Casey Beathard.

It was, as ASCAP chief Connie Bradley pointed out, a rare occasion. Most No. 1 celebrations take place long after the song has fallen off the charts. “Don’t Blink,” however, has held to the top spot longer than most. This is its fourth week at No. 1, and there’s a good chance it may continue its reign next week, too.

As usual, Chesney eased into the celebration alone and moved around the edges of the crowd so as to not draw undue attention to himself. Wearing a gray baseball cap, gray pullover shirt, glasses and jeans, the singer stood with his eyes modestly downcast as speeches were made and awards handed out.

Bradley pointed out to the guests that “Don’t Blink” was the third No. 1 for both Wallin and Beathard (who is a writer affiliated with BMI, ASCAP’s competing performance rights organization) and the 14th chart-topper for Chesney.

The Country Music Association’s newly-crowned CEO, Tammy Genovese, began her presentation to the writers by plugging the CMA awards show, which will be telecast Wednesday night (Nov. 7) on ABC. She also noted that Chesney will perform “Don’t Blink” on the show.

The CMA’s entertainer of the year for the past two years, Chesney is again in the running for that distinction, plus being nominated for top male vocalist, music event and video. His long-time producer, Buddy Cannon, who is up for CMA song of the year for “Give It Away,” was on hand to share in Chesney’s ASCAP honor.

Reading from a list, Wallin meticulously thanked the people who had shared in making “Don’t Blink” a success. He announced that every one of his family was in the crowd, including, he joked, some who “just got out of the pen [penitentiary].”

Beathard thanked Chesney for “kicking off” three of his own songs from the album (“and one of mine,” Cannon jokingly grouched) to make way for new material, including “Don’t Blink.”

Chesney said he and Cannon were in the studio mixing the first part of the completed album when they were given the demo of “Don’t Blink.” He recalled, “It was one of the few songs where we said ‘wow’ the first time we heard it.”

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