Jake Owen Toasts “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” With Songwriters

He Shares Applause With Altman, Paslay and Sawchuk

With a cold rain pelting the sidewalks and the wind picking up, it was a long way from being a “barefoot, blue jean night.”

Even so, a throng of Jake Owen’s friends and co-workers scurried into the lobby of the Country Music Association building in Nashville, Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 29) to celebrate the singer’s No. 1 success with the song of that title.

Equally spotlighted were the song’s three co-writers, Dylan Altman, Eric Paslay and Terry Sawchuk.

BMI and ASCAP, the two major performance rights organizations, jointly sponsored the celebration. Owen and Altman are affiliated with BMI, Paslay and Sawchuk with ASCAP.

BMI’s Jody Williams greeted the crowd and called Owen to the stage, remarking that “He’s as friendly and as grateful as any artist I’ve ever met.”

Williams noted that “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” is Owen’s first No. 1 single as an artist but that he has already won three BMI awards as a songwriter.

Turning to Altman, Williams declared him to be “one bad ass guitar player” and explained that it was memories of attending a U2 concert that inspired the New Jersey native to contribute the image of “shining like lighters in the dark in the middle of a rock show” to “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”

It was Altman’s second top single as a songwriter.

Williams also praised Altman and Paslay for their work on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and announced that Avenue Bank, which sponsors BMI’s No. 1 parties, has made a contribution in their name to the foundation.

Mike Sistad, representing ASCAP, said this was Sawchuk’s first No. 1 country single but pointed out that the Ontario, Canada, native had scored big in other musical formats.

Paslay, Sistad continued, is already making his mark as a recording artist for EMI Nashville with the song “Never Really Wanted” and that he co-wrote the Eli Young Band’s next single. “Barefoot” is Paslay’s first No. 1 as a songwriter as well.

Keith Kaufman, representing Country Radio Broadcasters, presented airplay awards to Owen and the songwriters. He said that “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” has so far racked up 115,000 spins and more than 766 million audience impressions (a measure of how large an audience a song is estimated to have reached).

Owen was in a festive mood when he came forward to speak to the crowd. He glanced at the pile of plaques he’s just been given and cracked, “Going by Home Depot and get some nails.”

Looking out over the crowd that packed the lobby, he said, “I’ve stood at the back of the room at a lot of these [events]. It’s good to finally be up here.”

Now living in Nashville, Sawchuk thanked his fellow songwriters for “accepting me as a Canadian.” Then, tapping into a political vein, he quipped, “I miss the [Canadian] health care.”

Altman was in good humor, too. Nodding toward his much taller co-writers, he observed, “I feel like Paul Simon among these guys — a short Jew.”

Paslay seemed amazed at all the applause and adulation. “I’ve just been up here soaking up the crowd,” he said with a benign smile.

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