Perhaps having concluded that there’s not enough mobility in the world, BMI and ASCAP, the performance rights organizations, saluted the writers of three of Cole Swindell’s latest hits Monday afternoon (Sept. 12) with a “pub crawl” that required the celebrants to lug themselves and their trophies to three different Music Row bars within the space of two hours.
It was an especially jarring experience to those celebrants who are used to lingering companionably over their drinks instead of chugging them and then sprinting away like crazed rabbits.
Fortunately, all three watering holes were on the same block.
Swindell co-wrote all three of the spotlighted songs: “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight” (with Tyler Hubbard, Bryan Kelley and Michael Carter), “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” (with Josh Martin and Adam Sanders) and “Let Me See Ya Girl” (with Michael Carter and Jody Stevens).
“Hope You Get Lonely Tonight” and “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” reached No. 1 in Billboard, while “Let Me See Ya Girl” peaked at No. 2.
The first stop was at the bar South, where BMI’s David Preston opened the festivities by noting that Swindell had been “hanging out with Miss America,” a reference to the singer having just acted as a celebrity judge at the beauty pageant.
Swindell is a BMI member, and it was Preston’s chore to laud his part in creating “Hope You Get Lonely.” ASCAP’s Beth Brinker spoke on behalf of Carter.
Praising the collaboration, Brinker said, “This is one that I’ve been waiting on for a while,” noting that she has known the two writers for 10 years.
Hubbard and Kelley, who are best known as Florida Georgia Line, were on the road and unable to share directly in the celebration. But they sent a video expressing their joy in being a part of it all.
The entire crawl was very much a family affair. Swindell is performing on Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots tour. He got his start in the music business selling merchandise for his college fraternity brother, Luke Bryan, whose band Carter leads.
Jody Stevens, co-writer of “Let Me See Ya Girl,” is the son of Bryan’s primary producer, Jeff Stevens. He also co-produced Swindell’s debut album and Bryan’s Kill the Lights CD.
John Esposito, the head of Swindell’s record label, Warner Music Nashville, called Swindell “a stadium act in the making” and announced that Swindell’s single “You Should Be Here” has been certified platinum.
He also reminded the onlookers that Swindell has been nominated by the CMA for the new artist of the year award.
Carter told Swindell, “I’m insanely humble to be part of anything you’re doing.”
Swindell said he grew up being a fan of songwriters.
“The power of music is real,” he said. “When I say I’m living the dream, I honestly don’t know how it can get any better.”
The party then adjourned to the Dawg House saloon where Esposito continued praising the chief guest of honor. He said he realized Swindell was “a songwriter of consequence” when he heard his first demo. “He’s got a lot of shades [of artistry] for us to go find.”
Brinker introduced Sanders, observing that “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” was his first No. 1 as a writer.
“I get plenty of credit out on the road,” said Swindell. “But today’s about my co-writers. … I love going out and making you [supporters] proud. It wouldn’t be worth doing if I didn’t have people to share it with.”
By the time the party concluded at the Tin Roof bar, it was well into its second hour and the superlatives were running on fumes.
BMI’s Bradley Collins presented Stevens a guitar in recognition of the chart success of “Let Me See Ya Girl.”
Esposito commended Swindell for “opening your soul” as a writer and performer. “I love you so deeply,” he added.
Swindell thanked the hardy members of the crowd who had stayed on until the end.
“I know there are plenty of other places you could be,” he said.