Baseball metaphors — most of them foul balls — clotted the air Wednesday afternoon (July 14) as a Music Row crowd gathered at the First Tennessee Bank Center, overlooking the Nashville Sounds’ playing field, to toast the writers of Rascal Flatts’ latest No. 1 single, “I Like the Sound of That.”
And “toast” was the operative word with the outside temperature sizzling in the upper 90s.
The writers being honored were Jesse Frasure, Meghan Trainor and Shay Mooney (of Dan + Shay). Trainor, who was unable to attend, was preparing for a tour and sent her greetings via video.
Joining the writers were all three members of Rascal Flatts — Gary Levox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney.
A Sounds representative, who asserted Flatts was “the most awarded country group of the decade,” opened the ceremony by presenting each member of the trio a Sounds jersey with his last name emblazoned on the back.
BMI’s Bradley Collins hosted the proceedings and got into the spirit of it all by wearing a baseball cap and black smudges under his eyes.
“I Like the Sound of That,” Collins announced, was Flatts’ 16th No. 1 single, Mooney’s second as a songwriter (his first having been Dan + Shay’s “Nothing Like You”) and Frasure’s third as a songwriter.
Mooney and Frasure are both BMI members.
ASCAP’s Evyn Mustoe spoke on behalf of Trainor, noting that “I Like the Sound of That” is her third No. 1 single, her first having been her megahit as an artist, “All About That Bass.”
Scott Borchetta, head of Big Machine Records, Rascal Flatts’ home label, called the trio “three of the coolest cats I know” and lamented his thwarted attempts to sign Mooney and Frasure to the Big Machine family.
Jack Purcell, overseer of promotions for Big Machine, told the crowd that “I Like the Sound of That” is the third most-played track on country radio so far this year.
Frasure said he routinely calls his parents each time an act records one of this songs and added, “This is the first time I got a cut that they flipped out over.”
Mooney, who appeared to be oscillating with excitement throughout the proceedings, scored a zinger while praising Flatts.
“I grew up loving these guys,” he said. “They’re like grandparents to me.”
Speaking later, LeVox responded to that jibe by promising all the songwriters in the room that his group would be affectionate grandparents to any of their children/songs entrusted to them.
“It just spoke to us,” said Joe Don Rooney of the song being spotlighted. He noted that the members of Rascal Flatts are songwriters, too, but that they have to defer to the best songs rather than their own songs when deciding what to record.
“I hope to have a No. 1 party for myself some time,” he said wistfully. “I’m still trying.”
DeMarcus was his usual irreverent self. Alluding to changes within the music industry, he declared, “It’s awesome to get up in the morning and do what you love to do and get paid about a third of what you used to.”