Specifically, the event was to honor the song’s four co-writers — the husband-and-wife team of Keifer and Shawna Thompson, plus Paul Jenkins and Jason Sellers. It was jointly sponsored by Broken Bow Records and the three performance rights organizations, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.
The locale for the festivities was a restaurant now called The Row, which in an earlier incarnation developed a storied history as The Longhorn. The Longhorn closed there in 2008.
“This is a legendary spot,” said Thompson Square’s label chief, Jon Loba, as he called the crowd to order. “It’s where Brooks & Dunn met, where Bud Lee sold the rights to ‘Friends In Low Places’ to pay his bar tab and where Harlan Howard held court.”
Loba pointed out that with the chart success of “If I Didn’t Have You,” Thompson Square now boasted a No. 1 song from each of its two albums, Thompson Square (which yielded the sassy “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” ) and Just Feels Good.
Thompson Square records for Stoney Creek Records, which is an imprint of Broken Bow.
ASCAP’s Ryan Beuschel spoke on behalf of Sellers, noting that he began touring in a gospel group when he was four and had much later gone on to play in both Vince Gill‘s and Ricky Skaggs‘ bands. He added that “If I Didn’t Have You” was Seller’s third No. 1.
Penny Everhard from BMI recited the relevant statistics for Shawna Thompson and Paul Jenkins. She announced that “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” now stood at double-platinum — or two million — sales and was the most-played song on country radio in 2011.
She said that although this is Shawna Thompson’s first No. 1 as a songwriter, she has co-writing credits on six songs on the duo’s new album. For Jenkins, it was the third No. 1, Everhard said. As is the BMI custom, she gave each songwriter a guitar.
Shannan Hatch from SESAC praised Keifer Thompson for delivering his first No. 1 as a songwriter and recalled his “charisma” when she first saw him during his early pre-hit days.
“It takes an army to do what we’ve done today,” Keifer Thompson remarked, focusing on the co-operative nature of writing, recording and promoting songs. “This label doesn’t feel like business — it feels like family.”
Shawna Thompson began weeping almost as soon as she came to the microphone. “Writing this song with Jason and Paul was very special,” she said, noting that it paralleled the death of her father. “It was therapy. … This song went No. 1 on [my dad’s] birthday … I know he’s here today. He’s got the best seat in the house.”