A hugging, backslapping crowd surged through the South bar on Nashville’s Music Row Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 24) to applaud Dustin Lynch for his third No. 1 single, “Mind Reader,” written by Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip.
All three principals were on hand to bask in the congratulations, as well as the song’s producer, Mickey Jack Cones. The party was sponsored jointly by the performance rights organizations, BMI and ASCAP.
South is the same bar in which Lynch got his start, although it was called Two Doors Down back then. And it was where he celebrated his second No. 1, “Hell of a Night,” last October. His first was “Where It’s At (Yep, Yep”).
For Akins and Hayslip, “Mind Reader” was their 23rd and 19th No. 1, respectively.
Akin was twice BMI’s songwriter of the year, as was Hayslip for ASCAP.
In addition to his musical labors, Lynch has launched the Stay Country line of clothing and will join Chris Young this fall on his I’m Comin’ Over Tour.
After Lynch, Akins, Hayslip and Cones had come to the stage to receive their plaques and trophies, music publisher Rusty Gaston joined them to declare that this convergence of talent was a “cosmic moment of God weaving it altogether.”
Known for his manic enthusiasm and over-the-top pronouncements, Gaston pointed to Lynch’s broad smile and asserted, “There’s nobody better poised to be the next superstar of country music than Dustin Lynch.”
Lynch’s smiled brightened considerably at that assessment.
Gaston also noted that “Mind Reader” is Akins and Hayslip’s 98th major label cut as a writing team and that they had been writing together since they were “12 or 13.”
“If you could hear the songs we wrote in 1983,” Akins modestly responded, “you wouldn’t think [we could have achieved] that.”
Hayslip recalled that he and Akins started as “two guys sitting on the bed, playing guitar and singing Hank Jr. songs.”
“We were the first Beastie Boys,” Akins cracked.
Cones told the crowd that 21 years ago he was in a Texas road band that covered Akins’ own hit as an artist, “That Ain’t My Truck.”
Without offering details, Lynch promised that his upcoming album “is gonna be a big, big moment.”
He said his most requested song currently is “Small Town Boys,” which Akins and Hayslip also wrote.