One of the coolest things about my job, to me, is the people I get to meet that I'd never get to meet otherwise. Today I met someone who indirectly influenced my even being here in Nashville. And I got to tell him that. That's cool.
I was raised on the country music of the 70's and early 80's, and was making music videos in my head to Statler Brothers songs long before TNN came along. My mom had every Statler Brothers album ever recorded. Just about every Statler Brothers album ever recorded was produced by musical legend, Jerry Kennedy. And today, I got to thank him for the music. What a sweet man. He told me of all the people he's ever worked with (and the list is long!) The Statlers are his favorites, because they were so much fun.
Jerry was there to celebrate with his son Bryan Kennedy, who was one of the four co-writers on "Good Ride Cowboy." Another cool thing about what I do is I get into events early, before the crowd arrives. So we had about 45 minutes with Garth and the writers before things got crazy. Bryan admits the whole confusion on the "Navy Brat / Air Force Brat" was his fault. It got a big laugh from all of us sitting around the picnic table with them (the event was held at a BBQ joint) as he admitted he was a journalism major, and said "lesson learned - double check your facts!"
Bryan has a great play called "Toe Roaster" that we talked a bit about privately, I know a lot of you have seen it. It was funny, when I introduced myself and told him I was with XM, one of the first things he asked me was if I was Wil and Langdon Reid's friend. It all goes back to the Statler Brothers! (Wil and Langdon are the next generation of Statlers, also known as Grandstaff.)
Three of the four co-writers on the song were celebrating their very first #1, including Garth's longtime manager, Bob Doyle. I got to talk to Garth and Bob about how it had all come full circle, since they met when Garth was a new writer in town, and Bob was working as ASCAP. The Q&A session was really fun, with Bob and Bryan and Garth cutting up a lot with each other. The two BMI writers, Richie Brown and Jerrod Nieman, also celebrating their first #1, were a little stunned by the whole experience, the only time they spoke was to talk about how they'd grown up as Garth fans. Garth was beaming like a proud papa every time their names were mentioned in the presentation.
Not much news-wise to come out of the event, except that Garth said "You've only seen the tip of the iceberg with Wal-mart." He's going back to raising kids again until fall, when they start promoting the next project for the Christmas season. (Rumored to be concert DVD's.)
To answer some of the questions that I've gotten via email:
- No Trisha was not there. Nor the girls, nor his dad.
- No the LeDeux family was not there.
- Yes I got a close up look at his wedding ring, and yes, it's the same one from the statue. Very pretty.
- Places to be watching for coverage: The Tennessean, CMT Insider, CMT.com, CMT Canada, Country Music Across America, channel 4 and 5 in Nashville (saw myself on TV tonight, LOL) and all the usual radio prep services / syndcated outlets. Although maybe not so much in radio... the audio quality wasn't very good in the venue.
Also in the crowd: Scott Walker from the Nashville Predators, (a member of Teammates for Kids), Hazel Smith, Keech Rainwater (from Lonestar) behind the camera for his expectant wife Elyssa, and songwriter Gordon Kennedy, Bryan's brother. (Really, how much talent should one family be allowed?)
I did not personally see anyone from Capitol Records there, although they might have been, it was crowded. Garth thanked them too, from the stage, and told them he loved them. I was standing next to Dale Turner from Lyric Street, who he thanked profusely for getting the song to number one.
Oh! And I'm sure it's no surprise to the GarthNutts that Garth was wearing his Chris LeDoux hat. :) And an orange MoBetta sweatshirt. I did not take pictures, although there were a few people there with cameras, and as the party wound down there were people standing in line to get their picture taken with Garth, which is NOT something that happens at the typical Music Row party. I went to a party, and a meet & greet broke out!