Looking as affable and amused as he does on The Voice, Blake Shelton drank in the adulation of the music industry insiders who joined him Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 18) at his Ole Red saloon in Nashville to celebrate his two latest No. 1 singles — “Every Time I Hear That Song” and “I’ll Name the Dogs.”
In the spotlight as well were the songwriters behind the hits — Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey and Brett and Brad Warren (“Every Time I Hear That Song”) and Matt Dragstrem, Ben Hayslip and Josh Thompson (“I’ll Name the Dogs”).
As the guests were streaming in and keeping the bar busy, publicists set up photo shoots of Shelton with people from the various groups involved in the songs’ success, including 14 different music publishers and personnel from Shelton’s record label, Warner Bros.
This task took something over a half hour to complete, but Shelton smiled through it all.
Speaking for BMI, the performance rights organization that co-sponsored the event with its fellow PRO, ASCAP, David Preston reminded the crowd that Mayo was co-writer of Lonestar’s massive 1999 hit, “Amazed” (as was her husband, Lindsey). Then he pointed out that the Warren Brothers were co-writers of Toby Keith’s ultimate party song, “Red Solo Cup.”
Preston said he remembered signing Shelton to BMI 25 years ago. He went on to congratulate Shelton’s producer, Scott Hendricks, noting that the songs being honored are the 70th and 71st top hits Hendricks has produced.
It’s BMI’s custom to award an acoustic guitar to the songwriter member for his or her first No. 1, Preston said that since “Every Time” was Mayo’s first No. 1 since the custom was established, she deserved a guitar, too, and so presented her one.
ASCAP’s Beth Brinker next came to the stage to sing Lindsey’s praises. She said more than 250 of his songs have been commercially recorded. Moreover, she added, “Today‘s his birthday.”
Stepping up to the microphone, Mayo said. “It’s been 17 years since I had a No. 1 song. . . .I needed it spiritually.” Lindsey said, “I’m gratified every day to go to work with people I love.”
Next up for applause were the three writers of “I’ll Name the Dogs.”
BMI’s Leslie Robert said that Thompson has racked up 30 cuts during the past two years, including Rascal Flatts’ tour-naming “Back to Us.” Brinker emphasized that Hayslip was a prolific hit writer who had, in 2011, been named ASCAP’s country songwriter of the year.
Dragstrem, she said now boasts three No. 1s, including Florida Georgia Line’s “Sippin’ on Fire” and Justin Moore’s “You Look Like I Need a Drink.” Brinker further observed that Dragstrem “is probably the only man who can out-dimple Blake Shelton.”
“Blake Shelton changed my life,” declared Warner Bros. chief John Esposito. He said that when he took over the Nashville division of the record company nine years ago, he looked over the label’s roster at the time and decided Shelton was the only viable act it had.
Hayslip joked that he also saw commercial value in Shelton. “Blake has bought me [through songwriting royalties] three trucks, a house and a duck pond,” he boasted.
Alluding to his winning song’s title, Dragstrem said, “I did buy a dog. I said that if somehow I get the first single, I’ll get a dog. Right now he’s probably chewing on my couch.”