Sunny and 77, it felt like baseball weather Thursday afternoon (Feb. 15) as throngs from Music Row crowded into Von Elrod’s Beer Garden and Sausage House to celebrate the writers of Thomas Rhett’s latest two chart-toppers — “Craving You” and “Unforgettable.”
Adding to the baseball vibe was the fact that Von Elrod’s is directly across the street from the entrance to the Nashville Sounds stadium.
“Craving You” was co-written by Dave Barnes and Julian Bunetta, while “Unforgettable” was the joint creation of Rhett, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley and Shane McAnally.
All the writers were on hand for the celebration, although Maren Morris, who duetted with Rhett on “Craving You” was absent.
As the celebrants collected and seated themselves along the varnished wooden tables and benches that ran the length of the room, Music Row types did what they do best — schmoozed, backslapped and kept a keen eye out for the next great musical opportunity.
Rhett circulated among the revelers, wearing a tight, brightly colored pair of running pants that seemed capable of bursting into flame at any moment.
Servers scurried back and forth, bearing trays of sausage sandwiches and flagons of beer.
Finally, the writers gathered on stage, to hear their publishers recite their record of achievements. For Rhett, these were his eighth and ninth No. 1 singles as an artist. “Unforgettable” was Gorley’s 35th No. 1 as a writer and McAnally’s 30th.
BMI, which co-sponsored the party with its fellow performance rights group, ASCAP, awarded Bunetta an Epiphone guitar, which it commonly does to songwriters scoring their first No. 1.
Armloads of plaques were also presented, not just to the writers, but to the publishers, producers, and members of the record label’s promotional staff.
Ben Vaughn, whose publishing company, Warner/Chappell, handles songs for Frasure and Gorley, among many others, announced he would be awarding custom-made LeBron James tennis shoes to the “Unforgettable” creators. He had an assistant hold up a large drawing of the fancy footwear for the crowd to applaud. (The lyrics of “Unforgettable” allude to the girl’s memorable shoes.)
Not to be outdone, Josh Van Valkenburg, from Sony/ATV Music, followed Vaughn to the stage, reached down and took off one of his own shoes and handed it to Rhett.
Dann Huff, Rhett’s producer told the crowd that there was more than music involved in these joint enterprises and celebrations — that his greatest reward was working with people who are personally admirable.
McAnally stepped forward to second these sentiments. “More than the songs,” he said, “is the humanity.”