Luke Bryan, ‘Drunk on You’ Writers Celebrate Song’s Success in Nashville
Not even a little rain could dampen the spirits inside the CMA building in Nashville on Monday afternoon (Sept. 17), where Luke Bryan was celebrated for his recent multi-week No. 1 hit, ‘Drunk on You.’
“[Being] No. 1 is the best,” Bryan beamed to Taste of Country upon walking into his latest No. 1 party. “Is there anything better?”
The tune might be Bryan’s fourth career chart-topper, but it was actually another milestone he was celebrating Tuesday. ‘Drunk on You’ is the singer’s first No. 1 song that he didn’t play a part in writing. “My thing that I’m most proud of [when it comes to this song] is having a song with outside writers,” he told us, while the song’s three writers — Rodney Clawson, Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear — listened intently. “I think you can officially call yourself a ‘Recording Artist’ when you can interpret somebody else’s song good enough to get it to No. 1.”
“I’d always had trouble with outside songs … singing them and really [getting the message across],” Bryan admitted. “On my first two albums, we cut a few outside songs, but they didn’t make the albums because we didn’t like they way they turned out with how I sang them. I was finally glad to jump that hurdle in my career and really sing a song and do it justice enough to be on the album, and certainly enough to get it to No. 1.”
‘Drunk on You’ marks the latest No. 1 for each of the writers, who are not strangers to penning some of Nashville’s biggest tunes. Kear and Tompkins are the brains behind both Carrie Underwood‘s ‘Before He Cheats’ and her current smash, ‘Blown Away,’ while Clawson is enjoying the success of being a co-write on Jason Aldean‘s ‘Take a Little Ride.’
“I don’t think this feeling ever gets old,” Clawson — who also spent time at No. 1 with Tompkins for Blake Shelton‘s ‘Drink on It’ — told us before the party. “My last song that came close [to topping the charts] before I had ‘Drink on It’ was in 2010. I had [Jason Aldean's] ‘Crazy Town’ that went to No. 2 and didn’t go No. 1. I was thinking, ‘I might not ever have another No. 1 again. That might be my last one.’ It doesn’t matter how strong a song is — it’s all timing, and you never know what the song’s going to do when it gets up there [on the charts]. There’s a lot of luck involved with a song going No. 1. So every one is special.”
“I had two of those this year,” added Kear, referring to Gloriana‘s ‘(Kissed You) Good Night’ and Lady Antebellum‘s ‘Dancin’ Away With My Heart,’ both of which peaked at No. 2 on the charts. “It just reminds you… this could be the last one you ever get. You better enjoy every one of them.”
And enjoying it is just what they were doing on Monday. While waiting for the party to start, those in attendance dove into a snack bar setup with raspberry/blueberry fruit cups, pretzel logs, turkey pinwheels, black and white shortbread cookies and mini turtle cakes. Then, it was time to celebrate the reason they were all there — ‘Drunk on You’ topping the charts for two weeks.
“We always try to write something fresh and new that nobody’s heard,” Tompkins explained to Taste of Country. “There’s stuff in the song that people have heard, but there’s also like a little spin on it. When the whole thing was coming out, people were talking about how huge it was going to be. I didn’t really believe that, but once I started hearing the fans reaction, it just felt like it was going to do really well. Obviously I didn’t know that it was going to go straight to No. 1 or anything, but we felt really good about the song from the beginning, just because it’s such a cool song.”
“It was great to have a song on the record,” Kear chimed in. “You never know if it’s going to be a single or anything, but Luke and [his producer] were so excited about it that it kind of felt like a single would be coming along at some point, which is very rare. Most of the time, you get on a record and you just feel like you’re going to be on the record. You try not to think about it being a single, but with this one, I actually had it in the back of my brain the whole time [laughs]!”
In addition to the usual plaques and trophies that are handed out at No. 1 parties, the writers and Bryan also received alcohol-infused gifts, such as bottles of beer from songwriting great Craig Wiseman, who is a publisher on the song. Bryan also joined in on the fun by presenting the writers with a commemorative bottle of Jack Daniels Single Barrel Whiskey, complete with a gold plate tag acknowledging the song.