All the delightful feelings Eric Paslay sings about in "Friday Night" were there for real Monday afternoon (Feb. 24) when the denizens of Music Row gathered at the Country Music Association building in Nashville to salute him and his co-writer, Rob Crosby and Rose Falcon.
Photo Credit: Marilu White
The No. 1 party was jointly sponsored by ASCAP, the performance rights society to which Paslay is a member, and BMI, with which Crosby and Falcon are affiliated.
Falcon is married to Rodney Atkins, who stood with his son Elijah in the throng of admirers.
"Friday Night" is Paslay's first No. 1 as an artist and his fourth as a songwriter. It was Falcon's and Crosby's first as songwriters.
As a recording artist for Arista Records in the early 1990s, Crosby scored three consecutive Top 20 hits. He also wrote the Top 5 hits "Concrete Angel" (for Martina McBride), "She's More" (Andy Griggs) and "Holdin' a Good Hand" (Lee Greenwood).
Lady Antebellum first recorded "Friday Night" on its 2011 album, Own the Night, but never released it as a single.
ASCAP's Mike Sistad pointed out that Paslay co-wrote Rascal Flatts's current single, "Rewind," and will be touring this summer with Thomas Rhett and Brantley Gilbert.
"It's good to see (Rob) back on top again," said BMI's David Preston. He presented Crosby and Falcon each a monogrammed acoustic guitar, BMI's traditional honor for its songwriters who've topped the charts for the first time.
Preston noted that Falcon is the daughter of famed songwriter Billy Falcon and was signed as an artist to Sony Records when she was 15. She has sung on commercials, he continued, for Verizon, Estee Lauder and JCPenney.
Dan Hill, president of Cal IV Entertainment, Paslay's music publisher, said Paslay came to the company eight years ago as an intern.
"We've been working with Eric so long, we're starting to look like him," Hill declared. When he said that, Cal IV staffers standing near the stage held up Eric Paslay masks, complete with trademark cap and red beard.
Crosby was the first of the songwriters to speak to the crowd after all the awards had been handed out.
Nodding toward Paslay and Falcon, he said, "Both these guys are a source of inspiration. They keep me young."
Falcon concurred, adding, "These guys are my friends -- that's the incredible part.
Paslay's remarks were the most eloquent and emotional.
"This is like the end of a good movie where all the stories come together," he said.
At this point, his voice faltered, and he turned away from the mic to wipe away tears.
"Thank you all for letting me dream," he concluded. "And thank you for not making me wake up from it."
View photos from the party.