Midland and Co-writers Celebrate Trio’s First Hit, “Drinkin’ Problem”

Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne Honored

Friends and associates of the group Midland packed the main room at the Sutler restaurant and bar in Nashville Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 11) to celebrate the success of Midland’s first single, “Drinkin’ Problem.”

“Drinkin’ Problem” peaked at No. 3 in Billboard, CMT.com’s standard for chart ranking, but reached No. 1 in another industry trade publication.

Drinkin’ Problem (Official Video) by Midland on VEVO.

Singled out for honors were Midland’s Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy and Mark Wystrach and the song’s producers, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Dann Huff. Midland, McAnally and Osborne also wrote the song.

While the principals concluded their pre-celebration press conference in another room, guests mingled, drank the complimentary wine and beer and foraged on the Mexican-themed buffet, which included club sandwiches, guacamole and fried pickles.

ASCAP and BMI, the performance rights organizations, co-sponsored and hosted the party. Osborne, Wystrach and Carson are ASCAP members; Duddy and McAnally are affiliated with BMI.

ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, even more bubbly than usual, called the party to order and began by asserting that the sound of “Drinkin’ Problem” has the effect of “transporting us to a much cooler time and place.”

She pointed out that Osborne was not only a Grammy award-winner (for best country song: “Merry Go Round” by Kacey Musgraves) but also that with “Drinkin’ Problem” he could now boast writing credits on 14 No. 1 singles.

One of those hits, she reminded the crowd, is Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road,” which has spent a record-setting 34 weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

Overcome by metaphor, Brinker told Osborne that when it came to songwriting talent “it’s like God himself touched your baby head.”

She was similarly effusive about Wystrach and Carson, the latter of whom she praised especially for “balancing his home life and his road life.”

Brinker concluded by presenting each of the songwriters a Yeti cooler.
Speaking for BMI, Bradley Collins emphasized that apart from his work with Midland, Duddy is also a top-rank video director, whose music videos for Bruno Mars, Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Lopez and others have racked up 4.5 billion views.

As is traditional, Collins presented Duddy with a BMI-emblazoned acoustic guitar to mark his first No. 1 song as a writer.

He then gave a thumbs up to the notoriously industrious McAnally for having co-written 25 No. 1 singles.

McAnally’s husband, Michael Baum, who co-owns the SMACK publishing, production and management companies with McAnally, came to the stage to praise his partner, both as a songwriter, producer and label chief and as the father of their twins.
Baum noted that Osborne had married the two of them (They were later “officially” married by Nashville mayor Megan Barry.).

Scott Borchetta, head of Big Machine Records, Midland’s label, said he felt the same sort of excitement when he first heard Midland perform that he felt when young George Strait surfaced.

“One of these days,” he asserted, “we’re going to look back and say, ‘Do you remember when Midland had their first No. 1?'”

Midland kick off the CMT on Tour Presents Jon Pardi’s Lucky Tonight Tour with Pardi and Runaway June tonight (Oct. 12) in Birmingham, AL. Nearly all 17 tour dates are sold out.

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