The benefits of excessive alcohol consumption were obvious late Monday afternoon (April 28) as revelers gathered in the Country Music Association building in Nashville to toast Laura Veltz and Josh Osborne, co-writers of the Eli Young Band's latest hit, "Drunk Last Night."
Tornado watches and heavy rains kept the size of the crowd down, but enthusiasm was running sufficiently high among those who did attend to make up for the deficiency.
BMI and ASCAP, the performance rights organizations, co-sponsored the party. Veltz is a BMI member. Osborne is affiliated with ASCAP.
BMI's Jody Williams explained to the crowd that he had first met Veltz 15 years ago after she had been brought to his attention by songwriter Kye Fleming.
He beckoned the very pregnant Veltz -- she's expecting twins -- to join him onstage, declaring her to be "wildly talented" and "a force of nature" and one who "never met a stranger."
"Simply put," Williams summarized, "she has the gift."
"Drunk Last Night" is Veltz's first No. 1, Osborne's second and the EYB's third.
Following Veltz to the stage were the Eli Young Band's Mike Eli, James Young, Chris Thompson and Jon Jones, producers Frank Liddell and Justin Niebank and their label chief at Republic Nashville Records, Jimmy Harnen.
ASCAP's LeAnn Phelan praised Liddell not just for his work as a producer but also for his involvement as a board member of several entertainment organizations.
"You are a treasure in this city," she asserted.
And she cited Niebank for sound engineering albums for clients as diverse as Dolly Parton, John Oates, Alabama and Shakira.
"Drunk Last Night," Phelan pointed out, is Liddell's seventh chart-topper as a producer.
Phelan said Osborne had been coming to Nashville to learn the craft of songwriting since he was a kid. He moved to Music City in 1998, she continued, "and went through a series of crappy publishers" before he signed with one that finally got him onto the charts.
Osborne currently has five of his songs in the Top 30.
Just as Veltz was called to the podium, her cell phone rang, but she brushed the interruption aside.
"This speaking in public makes me want to hurl," she said as she consulted a long list of people she wanted to thank for her success.
Being a songwriter, she said, is "a ridiculously lucky job." She noted she and Osborne were rather picky about how their songs ultimately sound when they're recorded and thanked the Eli Young Band for being "as particular as we are."
Veltz said she approached her first co-writing appointment with Osborne with some trepidation since she'd heard he was "a fancy pants who had some [songwriting] things going on."
When she met him that first time, she told him she'd been drinking a lot the night before. "He said, 'Let's write about it.'"
Thus, a hit was gestated.
Veltz maintained her composure until she began singling out her husband and other family members for their support. At that point, she pretty much melted into a torrent of tears.
The crowd responded to her remarks with prolonged applause.
"If I get emotional," Osborne said with a grin when it came his time to speak, "I'm doing it to support Laura."
Just as he started to cite the many people who'd helped him as a songwriter, there was a loud clap of thunder. Without missing a beat, he looked up at the skylight and said, "I'll wait." Then he went on.
Eli was the last to speak. With the other band members standing behind him, he said, "We're songwriters, too. But [in choosing songs to record] the better song always wins."