Three Georgia-born songwriters, who call themselves the Peach Pickers, picked up an armload of trophies Monday (June 14) for penning Joe Nichols' latest hit, "Gimmie That Girl." The song recently spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard country chart.
Photo Credit: Marilu White
ASCAP and BMI, the performance rights organizations, honored Ben Hayslip, Rhett Akins and Dallas Davidson at consecutive parties held at their Nashville offices. Hayslip is signed to ASCAP, the others to BMI. Nichols attended both gatherings.
Tim DuBois, who oversees ASCAP's Nashville operations, presented Hayslip a guitar and a plaque.
DuBois also happened to be the man who gave Nichols his first label deal by signing him to Universal South Records in 2002. At that time, DuBois was managing partner of the label.
"I still remember the day -- a couple of doors down [from here] in the Starstruck building -- that this really good-looking guy came in with his guitar player and just blew me away," DuBois recalled. That guy was Nichols, of course, who was then performing at Rippy's, a restaurant and bar in downtown Nashville.
Last year, Universal South combined with Toby Keith's Show Dog Records to become Show Dog-Universal Music. It is now headed by Mark Wright, who also produced "Gimmie That Girl."
Rusty Gaston, who signed Hayslip to his contract with This Music, a publishing company, praised both the songwriter's talent and character. "He's such a picture of [the principle that] if you work hard, it really pays off. ... As a man and a father, he's an example of what we should live by," he said.
Gaston reported that Hayslip racked up an astonishing total of 26 cuts last year. Nichols thanked his managers for "cracking the whip" to make him do the things necessary to further his career.
Of the success of "Gimmie That Girl," the singer noted, "It's my introduction to Show Dog-Universal. What an awesome way to say hello."
After the presentations and photos, the crowd trickled over to the BMI building. The party there was originally scheduled for the sixth-floor balcony overlooking downtown Nashville. But with the temperature sizzling in the neighborhood of 93 degrees, the organizers wisely moved the festivities to a downstairs lobby.
BMI's Jody Williams called Nichols "an artist who always lets that beautiful [singing] voice do the talking, like Don Williams and Merle Haggard."
Of Davidson, he said, "He loves life. He loves people. He loves music." Williams listed by name the many members of Davidson's family who were in the audience. "There's a lot of love in this room today," he concluded.
Also there to congratulate the songwriters were recording artists Randy Houser and Jack Ingram.
Williams pointed out that "Gimmie That Girl" is Davidson's third No. 1 single and Akins' second. The Peach Pickers also wrote Nichols' next single, "The Shape I'm In."
Hayslip told the crowd that he, Davidson and Akins write together every Wednesday, adding, "Every Tuesday night, I know something good is going to happen the next day."
Akins joked about Wright, who, as label chief, producer, songwriter and publisher, has his finger in many musical pies. "I'm just glad [the song] got to Joe Nichols," Akins said. "Mark must have thought he had publishing on it."
Wright stood nearby, smiling and taking Akins' jibes in good spirit.
"Ben and I have been writing together since we were 14," Akins continued. As youngsters, he admitted, they had even tried their hand at rap music. "We even had names. I was the Honeycomb Kid and he was Jam Master B."
"We don't write many love songs," said Akins. "We mostly write chicks, trucks and beer songs."
He said the only complaint he had about the No. 1 hits he had written is that "Mark Wright produced every one of them."
Wright just rocked on his heels and grinned benignly.
View photos from the No. 1 parties.