"He will be a leader in our format as long as he wants," BMI's Jody Williams proclaimed to the wall-to-wall throng that gathered Wednesday (Oct. 23) to honor Jason Aldean and the writers of his most recent No. 1 single, "Night Train."
Photo Credit: Marilu White
The ceremony was held at the Pub, a new Scottish-themed bar just a few blocks off Nashville's Music Row.
Early arrivals at the party would have spotted Aldean and longtime producer Michael Knox leaning head-to-head at a waist-high table, laughing and chatting with songwriter Neil Thrasher, who co-wrote "Night Train" with Michael Dulaney.
The party was sponsored by the performance rights organizations BMI, of which Dulaney is a member, and ASCAP, to which Thrasher belongs.
Reciting Aldean's chart, record-selling and ticket-selling achievements, Williams said they were all reasons that the singer is up for three Country Music Association awards this year, including the all-important entertainer of the year prize.
"Night Train" is Aldean's 10th Billboard No. 1. Knox produced all of them.
Turning his attention to Dulaney, Williams noted that, in addition to "Night Train," the songwriter currently has two more hits on the charts -- Joe Nichols' "Sunny and 75" and Scotty McCreery's "Forget to Forget You."
ASCAP's Mike Sistad spoke in praise of Thrasher, recalling he sprang from a well-known musical family, the Thrasher Brothers, and that he was ASCAP's songwriter of the year in 2004.
"Night Train," Sistad continued, is Thrasher's ninth No. 1. He also co-wrote Aldean's earlier chart-topper, "Fly Over States," and he, Dulaney and Wendell Mobley penned Aldean's "Tattoos on This Town."
"This doesn't get old," Thrasher assured the crowd after he had accepted his trove of awards from ASCAP, his publisher, Avenue Bank, the CMA and Country Radio Broadcasters.
Aldean said he came by "Night Train" after he called Thrasher to see if he had any songs to offer. At the time, Thrasher was producing another act that had passed on recording the song, so Aldean snapped it up.
The singer modestly claimed his success is more a matter of luck than design.
"We don't know what we're doing ... so I can't take credit," he declared.
"I will," said Knox, who stood behind him.
"I know," Aldean shot back.
The singer joked and thanked "my managers -- who aren't here. I see how important I am to those guys."
To the songwriters, he said, "You guys get together tomorrow and write me another one."
View photos from the No. 1 party.