Eric Church and Co-Writer Jeff Hyde Celebrate “Record Year”

Doleful Song Nominated for Three CMA Awards

Eric Church and his co-writer, Jeff Hyde, journeyed to BMI’s Nashville headquarters Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 11) to accept praises and trophies for their joint composition, “Record Year.”

The song is Church’s fifth No. 1 as an artist and Hyde’s second as a songwriter.

“Every single piece of music this man makes has had an impact way beyond its chart position,” said Mike Dungan, head of Universal Music Group Nashville, of which Church’s label is a part.

A capacity crowd filled BMI’s high-domed reception hall to partake of the celebration — as well as the copious array of wine and beer and expansive spread of Mexican-themed food.

BMI’s Jody Williams lauded Church for his adventurous approach to the music business, noting that he had surprised the industry and his fans last year by rolling out his new album during the CMA Awards.

Williams further pointed out that “Record Year” is up for three awards at the upcoming CMA show — single, song and video of the year.

He announced that Church will launch his Holding My Own Tour in January. It will have no opening act, and Church will perform a segment of his show solo, accompanying himself on guitar.

Williams called Church’s songs “the most compelling of any genre of music.”

Turning to Hyde, who stood beside Church on stage, Williams praised his songs for their “thoughtful lyrics and grassy overtones.” Years ago, he said, when he was a music publisher, he had signed Hyde as a songwriter. He joked that under his tutelage “Jeff went on to achieve absolutely nothing.”

In addition to Church’s musical activities, Williams said, the singer has now endorsed a line of furniture.

Williams introduced Arturo Buenahora Jr., who jointly runs the Little Louder Music publishing company with Church. “Record Year” is the company’s first No. 1 in its three-year history.

“Eric is the standard-bearer of what an artist should be,” Buenahora asserted.

Ron Cox of Pinnacle Bank, BMI’s partner in its No. 1 parties, announced that the bank had made a contribution in Church’s and Hyde’s names to the Chief Cares Fund, the nonprofit organization Church and his wife Katherine established in 2013.

Working through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Cox explained, the Chief Fund has provided beds, clothing and school supplies for an orphanage in Nepal, sent Bibles and aid to Haiti and helped fund no-kill animal shelters.

“I remember back when I worked at a gas station,” Hyde said, “and a man asked me what I wanted to be. I told him I wanted to be a songwriter, and he said, ‘Don’t be a smartass.’”

He said his contribution to “Record Year” was bringing the idea to Church.

“Jeff sells himself a little short,” Church said, declaring that his participation in creating the song was a lot more than just coming up with the theme.

“I’ve written a lot of songs with a lot of people,” he said, “but it’s rare when you get something unique. He’s one of those rare guys in this town.”

There was considerable joking during the ceremony about the difficulty of getting Church’s songs embraced by radio.

Addressing the people who promote his songs, Church said. “I never make the job easy. I know that. But I promise you I’ll never embarrass you.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.