BMI, the performance rights agency, applauded songwriter Ashley Monroe for co-writing Jason Aldean's latest No. 1 single, "The Truth," with a Monday (March 8) afternoon party at the organization's Nashville headquarters. It was her first chart-topper.
Photo Credit: Marilu White
Brett James, Monroe's co-writer, was on tour and could not attend the celebration. He is affiliated with BMI's competitor, ASCAP.
Spotted among the roomful of merrymakers were singer-songwriter Sherrié Austin and Drake Dixon, the guitar-thumping toddler featured in Randy Houser's "Boots On" music video.
Aldean strolled in just before the official proceedings started, wearing his trademark distressed jeans and checked shirt and sporting a baseball cap with sunglasses parked above the visor.
BMI's Clay Bradley recounted Monroe's tear-stained trajectory toward Music City and musical prominence, beginning with her singing five nights a week at the Dollywood theme park when she was just 11.
Monroe's father, Bradley said, died when she was 13, prompting the youngster and her mother to move to Nashville. After paying dues at various honky-tonks on Nashville's Lower Broadway, Monroe earned herself a major record deal and even recorded an album. But because of changes at the label, the album was never released.
Finally, Monroe began focusing on songwriting. "She wrote some of the saddest songs I ever heard," Bradley marveled. One of these was the tune being celebrated, in which a rejected lover begs his friends not to reveal the truth about his emotional devastation.
Noting that "The Truth" is one of Aldean's most popular concert pieces, Bradley said, "It has surpassed the recording and taken on a life of its own."
Ree Guyer Buchanan, Monroe's publisher, recalled she first encountered the budding songwriter when she was just 15 and begging her for tickets to the Grand Ole Opry "practically every other weekend." (Buchanan is married to Gaylord entertainment senior vice president of media and entertainment Steve Buchanan, who oversees the Opry.)
Monroe has been signed to Buchanan's publishing company since she was 17.
Carson James, who heads promotion for Aldean's label, Broken Bow Records, took to the podium to congratulate the singer for scoring his third No. 1 hit within the past 10 months. He predicted there would be another No. 1 celebration for Aldean's current single, "Crazy Town," sometime in August.
A representative from Country Radio Broadcasters presented Aldean a certificate of achievement and announced that, so far, "The Truth" has been played more than 80,000 times on country radio stations, a total that translates into "nearly 600 million" audience impressions.
Aldean told the crowd his producer, Michael Knox, brought him a demo of "The Truth" and that, as has become common practice, they first listened to it in his car. He said he decided instantly he wanted to record it.
"From day one," Aldean said, "it was my favorite song on the record."
Monroe spoke briefly to thank the people who had helped bring her to this point, including, "my mother, standing right there -- the real pretty one." She was enthusiastic about Aldean's treatment of her song. "Jason, it still gives me a chill. Sometimes I forget I wrote it, and I just sing along."
View photos from the No. 1 party.