ASCAP and BMI, the two major performance rights organizations, commandeered the reception hall at the Country Music Association
office in Nashville Monday afternoon (Aug. 20) to celebrate the recent No. 1 status of “Even
if It Breaks Your Heart.”
The song was co-written by Will Hoge
and Eric Paslay and recorded by the Eli Young Band, all of whom were
After shaming the noisy crowd to order, BMI’s Jody Williams pointed to the fragments of lyrics painted
high along the walls of the reception area and congratulated the CMA for taking such pains to honor with those lyrics every
song and every single of the year since the organization began conferring awards.
Williams then outlined Hoge’s musical
achievements, noting it is rare for a country songwriter to actually be from Nashville. Hoge, who’s affiliated with BMI, grew
up in nearby Franklin, Tenn., and has been a recording and performing artist — although not a country one — since the late
1990s. During that time, he’s released 20 albums.
In 2009, he recorded his version of “Even if It Breaks Your Heart”
on his CD called The Wreckage.
However, it was the Eli Young Band’s rendering that gave Hoge his first No. 1
“It’s one of the coolest, most-boundary-stretching songs [in country music],” Williams proclaimed.
went on to declare that the Eli Young Band is “one of the best bands you’ll ever hear. … They did not have instant radio
success,” he continued, “so they worked harder.”
ASCAP’s Mike Sistad gave the laurels to Paslay, observing that the
thin, lanky Texan has had three No. 1 songs within the past 12 months, the other two being Jake
Owen‘s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and Love
and Theft‘s “Angel Eyes.”
Jimmy Harnen, president of Republic Nashville, the Eli Young Band’s label, announced that the combined
sales of “Crazy Girl,” the band’s first No. 1, and “Even if It
Breaks Your Heart” amount to 2.6 million copies. “Say Goodnight,” he said, is the band’s new single.
Mike Eli spoke
for the band and accepted the crowd’s applause. Of the song being honored, he said, “This song was a passion for me.”
been a wild year,” said Paslay, who departed from his acceptance remarks to salute his parents in the audience. “It’s crazy,”
he marveled, “how songs get heard.”
Clearly delighted to finally have a No. 1, Hoge carried his nearly 2-year-old son,
George, to the microphone.
“I’m like Sarah McLachlan and her puppies,” he said with a grin. “I brought a baby.” (His
reference was to the McLachlan video condemning animal cruelty.)
Hoge said he recently sat onstage at an Eli Young
Band concert and listened to the crowd of thousands sing his lyrics back to him.
Nodding toward the band that stood
behind him, he said, “They truly made it [the song] an anthem.”