Well-wishers braved the inch-along traffic on Nashville’s Lower Broadway Tuesday afternoon (May 30) to gather at the Stage saloon and celebrate the success of Dustin Lynch’s “Seein’ Red.”
The specific honorees were the song’s four writers, Tully Kennedy, Kurt Allison, Jason Sever and Steve Bogard. Lynch was on hand to lead the cheers.
The party was jointly sponsored by the three major performance rights organizations — ASCAP, of which Allison and Sever are members; BMI, Kennedy’s home turf; and SESAC, which represents Bogard.
BMI’s Bradley Collins sang Kennedy’s praises, noting that he is Jason Aldean’s bass player and a co-writer of Dierks Bentley’s Top 5 single, “Tip It on Back.” “Seein’ Red” is Kennedy’s first No. 1, Collins said, as he awarded him the customary BMI-emblazoned acoustic guitar for that achievement.
Collins also pointed out that “Seein’ Red” is Lynch’s fourth No. 1 as an artist. He mentioned, as well, that Lynch has launched a new clothing line, has been touring with Brad Paisley and will begin touring as a headliner this fall.
Speaking for ASCAP, Mike Sistad said that “Seein’ Red” was Allison’s and Sever’s first No. 1 and Mickey Jack Cones’s 8th No. 1 as a producer. Allison is also a producer, Sistad said, and added the fun fact that Allison’s father is a member of Iowa’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Sistad said that Sever moved to Nashville 15 years ago, found work as a demo singer and signed his first publishing deal in 2009. He has since had cuts by Luke Bryan, Martina McBride, Joe Nichols and Parmalee, among others.
SESAC’s Shannan Hatch said that Bogard has been “writing for decades in various genres” and that “Seein’ Red” is his 10th chart-topper. His first was Lee Greenwood’s “Mornin’ Ride” in 1987. She also lauded him for all the legislative lobbying he has done on behalf of songwriters.
While all these announcements and declarations were being made, a waitress circulated among the crowd handing out shots of Patron tequila, which, she explained quietly, were to be held for an upcoming toast.
It turned out that Cones would be the one making the toast to Lynch and the songwriters. Coming to the microphone on stage, he said, “I call this my ’MTS’ — mandatory tequila shot. . . I’ve spent all my royalties on tequila when we have a No. 1 song. Here’s to ’Seein’ Red’ going No. 1.”
And with that, the celebrants raised their glasses and drank.
Cones also toasted his 11-month-old son, Jackson Daniel Cones, whom he had his wife bring to the stage to show the crowd.
“Fifteen years it took me to get this hit,” said Sever, when it came his turn to speak, “and it was worth every single year.”
Said Bogard, “This [celebration] is more about the people who believe in you than it is about you. . . . We survive [as songwriters] because people believe in us.”
Lynch was the last to address the crowd. “We’re on fire,” he said to Cones. “You’re a madman.”
He moved on, thanking people who have supported and encouraged him on his road to success, including his mother who stood near the stage, looking up admiringly.
He thanked the crowd generally “for giving us jobs” and expressed a sentimental fondness for the Stage, where he had performed regularly at the start of his career. He called it “the one place that still gives me a hangover.”
Lynch recalled first meeting Dierks Bentley at an adjoining urinal at the Stage. He apologized for holding the celebration at such an inconvenient downtown location, but added, “It’s kind of important to celebrate where it all began for us.”