“You changed our lives,” songwriter Josh Kear told Carrie Underwood as the two faced each other onstage Wednesday (Jan. 16) at the Country Music Association building in Nashville. They were there — along with a house full of celebrants — to toast the success of Underwood’s latest megahit, “Blown Away.”
Kear was speaking on behalf of himself and his “Blown Away” co-writer, Chris Tompkins. They also crafted Underwood’s Grammy-winning 2007 single “Before He Cheats,” the song that launched them into the musical stratosphere.
“Blown Away” is currently nominated for a Grammy as best country song.
Guests rushing in from the frigid afternoon air were greeted by a wine bar and a buffet table adorned with a bright array of vegetarian delicacies.
ASCAP, the performance rights organization of which Kear and Tompkins are members, hosted the celebration.
ASCAP’s Mike Sistad pointed out that Tompkins is co-writer of three major-label singles now on the charts — Tim McGraw ‘s “One of Those Nights,” Blake Shelton ‘s “Sure Be Cool If You Did” and Florida Georgia Line ‘s “Get Your Shine On.”
Kear, Sistad continued, has four songs on Underwood’s Blown Away album, including her current single, “Two Black Cadillacs.”
Craig Wiseman, Tompkins’ publisher, praised “Blown Away” as “such a brave record. … It’s as pop as it wants to be [and] it has some depth.” The song focuses on the whiskey-generated abuses of a father whose daughter allows him to die when a tornado sweeps their house away.
“It’s a dark story without going too far,” Underwood said during a press conference held before the party.
As is his custom with his award-winning songwriters, Wiseman presented Tompkins a gag gift, which he described as “a super-cheap, discount [piece of] metal wall art.”
That seemed a fair description since the framed object resembled an autopsied robot.
“It cost more to ship than it did to buy it,” Wiseman announced proudly.
A representative of Country Radio Broadcasters told the celebrants that a normal No. 1 country song accumulates around 80,000 airplays when it’s on the charts but that “Blown Away” had to date racked up 170,638 spins.
“This is a special song,” Tompkins told the crowd. He said he and Kear “used to play video games and smoke random things,” as well as listen to Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen records, while searching for inspiration.
“Josh and I [now] joke that we’re going into ‘Carrie Underwood season,’” he said.
“I’m a lucky lady, indeed,” Underwood proclaimed when it came her turn to speak. Then, turning toward the two songwriters, she added, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”
In the press conference, Underwood stressed that there is nothing biographical in the dark songs she often sings.
“My life is great, but it’s nice to step back and play a character,” she noted.
She said that she is particularly drawn to “image-oriented” songs, the kind in which word pictures tell the story.
“I don’t consider myself to have a great imagination,” she explained. “So when I read books, there have to be lots of amazing descriptive adjectives that make me see it in my head.”View photos from the party.