While tourists steamed on the sidewalk and squinted blindly into the sun late Tuesday afternoon (July 11), songwriters Luke Combs, Thomas Archer and Taylor Phillips stood together onstage in the cool confines of Acme Feed & Seed in downtown Nashville to celebrate their very first No. 1 song.
The song in question, “Hurricane,” was Combs’ first No. 1 as an artist, as well, and recently topped Billboard’s country airplay chart for two consecutive weeks.
Sponsored by BMI, the performance rights organization to which all three composers belong, the party was held on Acme’s gymnasium-size second floor, which featured two large bars, standup tables and lots of lounge seating.
In attendance were several dozen Music Row executives and staffers, plus many of the songwriters’ family members.
BMI’s Bradley Collins hosted the ceremony. He pointed out that Combs was the first male solo country artist to have a debut single reach No. 1 since 2008.
Combs’ album, This One’s for You, also went No. 1. His follow-up single, “When It Rains,” currently stands at No. 32.
Collins noted that Archer has another song climbing the charts, Walker Hayes’ “You Broke Up With Me.”
Given all this momentum, Collins suggested, the partygoers might want to keep Combs in mind for a couple of Country Music Association award nominations this fall.
He reminded the audience that Combs was a co-writer of all 12 songs on his new album.
As is its custom for first-time No. 1 songwriters, BMI presented each a BMI-emblazoned black, acoustic Epiphone guitar.
Because of the many people involved in Combs’ successful launch, the ceremony ran considerably longer than such events usually do.
Among those speaking to the crowd were the songwriters’ separate publishers, executives from Combs’ record label and management company and representatives from Pinnacle Bank, BMI’s co-sponsor of No. 1 parties, two trade magazines, Country Radio Broadcasters and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Mike Molinar, who heads Big Machine Music, Combs’ publisher, said “Hurricane” has been met with such crowd enthusiasm that it has become a “fans’ song” as much as a Combs song. Anyone doubting this assertion, he said, should check out the various online videos of Combs performing the song in which the crowd vigorously sings the lyrics.
A representative of the Hall of Fame said Combs has donated the shirt and cap he wore in the official video to the museum’s permanent collection. She urged the crowd not to look at country music history as something from the distant past but rather as events that are happening now.
After the speeches concluded, the celebrants hastened back to the bars to do their bit for country music history.