A rock band with local roots recently took top honors at ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, in Nashville for co-writing a hit country song.
Black Stone Cherry co-wrote, “Stay,” with songwriter/producer Joey Moi. The song appeared on the BSC’s third album, “Between the Devil and Deep Blue Sea,” and was recently covered by country duo Florida Georgia Line.
The song went No. 1 on Billboard’s country airplay charts and stayed there for four consecutive weeks.
BSC traveled to ASCAP offices in Nashville last week to celebrate the team behind the four-week hit single.
“It’s amazing to have a song that was No. 1 for four weeks on country and to also be a rock band,” said BSC drummer John Fred Young. “It is awesome to have other people to cut your songs. For me, that is the biggest compliment.”
BSC was about to wrap up its album, “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” in 2010, when it was suggested the band try co-writing with Moi, who had worked on a lot of records with Nickleback and produced Florida Georgia Lines’ album, “Here’s To the Good Times,” on which “Stay” appears.
It was near the end of a writing session, when BSC lead singer Chris Robertson began playing a melody on his guitar.
“We were like, ‘Dude, that is an awesome guitar lick,’” Young said.
With Moi’s help, the band sat down and penned lyrics to match Robertson’s melody.
“We started working on it and within 10 to 15 minutes we had the song, ‘Stay,’ written,” Young said. “It was just magic.”
Robertson can’t remember what thoughts were running through his head when he began playing the melody that eventually became “Stay.”
“We always kind of tinker around between songs at the practice house and play stuff on guitar,” he said.
“It worked out pretty good for us. The fact it was No. 1 for four weeks makes it even more surreal. We are just very, very blessed that those guys liked the song.”
For BSC guitarist Jon Lawhon, last week’s trip to Nashville was the first time he met Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line.
“It felt really good that a couple of fellas like [us] had success with the song,” Lawhon said.
A banner hung on Music Row announcing BSC and Florida Georgia Line’s success with the song.
“Apparently we are the first rock band to ever have been on one of those No. 1 banners on Music Row,” Lawhon said.
Even after a week has past, BSC guitarist Ben Wells said, “It’s still amazing. … It still hasn’t 100 percent sunk in. It’s an amazing honor.
“We had no idea it was going to do what it did and stay there for as long as it did. It’s just proof that a song that resonates with the people will stand the proof of time.”
BSC came away with several plaques from the ASCAP ceremony commemorating the milestone.
“It was so much that we couldn’t even carry it all in two arms,” Wells said. “It was hard not to get choked up at that event. We’re are just extremely proud and very thankful.”
Hubbard and Kelley are featured in a video on Billboard’s website talking about how they came to record “Stay.”
“That song for us, man, we fell in love with that song a couple of years ago. The original was done by Black Stone Cherry. They wrote it with our producer Joey Moi and when it came time to make an album, that song stuck with us and it really filled a hole on the album that we really needed,” said Kelley.
“We always said if we were going to cut an outside song, we want songs that if we were in the writers’ room that day we wouldn’t change a thing. So that’s kind of how we felt about that song.”
Kelley went on to say in the video that “Stay” has a deep, dark sentiment, but also offers a great message about fighting for whatever people love and believe in and doing everything possible to make it work.
“Stay” is not the first country song for BSC. The band recorded “Things My Father Said,” on its “Folklore and Superstition” album. The video for the song was featured on CMT Pure.
“That was really cool for us,” Young said, but added the song never charted on Billboard for country.
BSC is already playing a snippet of its latest single, “Me and Mary Jane,” which is from its forthcoming album “Magic Mountain,” on its website.
The new album is due to be released in the United Kingdom on May 5 and in the United States on May 6.
“We were allowed to really be ourselves on this album,” Wells said. “We wanted to make a great album for ourselves and for our fans.”
All of the songs appearing on the album were written by the band, with the exception of four.
“I’m just really excited about it,” Wells said. “It’s very raw and it’s very heavy. I can’t wait for it to come out.”
According to Young, “Magic Mountain,” also features a country song.
“That doesn’t mean we are going to be switching to country. We are a rock band,” he said. “I think if we just be true to who we are, we can do a little bit of everything.”
BSC will began touring again this weekend in Europe and will be touring extensively in the spring and fall.
It plans to do a benefit show in Glasgow around the holidays.
“That’s the plan at this point,” Wells said.
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