6 Degrees Of Bro-nation: the Songwriters Behind Country Music Feel-Good Anthems

You know how you turn on the radio and nearly every song is a happy-go-lucky party anthem? Within the hour, you’ll hear at least one Luke Bryan song, maybe an anthem begging you to shake your money-maker or a sensitive, introspective ballad entreating you to pop a beer and reminisce about the good times. But did you know that there are only six degrees of bro-mance separating Bryan from two of country’s hottest females (and Grammy winners): Carrie Underwood‘s chart-topping Blown Away and Kacey Musgraves‘ sensational Same Trailer, Different Park.

Well, it’s quite simple, really.

Bryan co-wrote his smash hit “Country Girl (Shake It For Me”) with Dallas Davidson. Davidson co-wrote Blake Shelton’s “Boys Round Here” with Rhett Akins and Craig Wiseman. Akins is Thomas Rhett’s father and co-writers on two songs on the son’s debut album. Rhett co-wrote his “Something To Do With My Hands” with Chris Stapleton and Lee Thomas Miller. Miller co-wrote Tim McGraw’s “Southern Girl” with Jaren Johnston and Rodney Clawson. Clawson co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s “Get Your Shine On” with band members Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley and Chris Tompkins. Tompkins co-wrote Underwood’s Grammy-winning song “Blown Away” with Josh Kear.

Is your mind blown yet? Granted, this could probably be done in 3 Degrees Of Bro-Mance, but where’s the fun in that?

How ’bout this:

Bryan co-wrote his “I Don’t Want This Night To End” with Atkins,  Davidson and Ben Hayslip. Hayslip co-wrote Rhett’s “It Goes Like This” with Jimmy Robbins. Robbins co-wrote Shelton’s “Sure Be Cool If You Did” with Tompkins and Rodney Clawson. Clawson co-wrote FGL’s “Round Here” with Tompkins and Rhett. Rhett co-wrote Lee Brice‘s “Parking Lot Party” with Akins and Luke Laird. Laird co-produced Musgraves’ critically acclaimed, Grammy-winning album Same Trailer Different Park.

OK, those are just plain fun. What’s the most interesting aspect about these connections is the diversity: going from the fun-loving entertainment of Bryan to the sweeping depths of Musgraves’ work. It’s a remarkable thing–this thing called country music. There’s room for all types of artists, and they are all welcome with open arms.

As you can surmise, there’s plenty of overlap between both sequences above, namely Dallas Davidson, Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins. These industry tastemakers are also known as The Peach Pickers. They are responsible for penning nearly every smooth-talking, laid back anthem on the radio today. Their other credits include, but are not limited to: “Hot Mess” by Tyler Farr, “Gimmie That Girl” by Joe Nichols, “I Don’t Want This Night To End” by Luke Bryan, “A Buncha Girls” by Frankie Ballard, “All Over Me” by Josh Turner, “This Ole Boy” by Craig Morgan and “Barefoot and Crazy” by Jack Ingram.

Here’s a little more info about each:

Rhett Akins first move to Nashville in 1992 and right away, he enjoyed some success–landing a songwriting deal with Sony Tree Publishing. Upon recording and writing countless demos, Decca Records soon became interested in him. He then signed a deal with 1994. He scored such hits as “That Ain’t My Truck,” “She Said Yes” and the No. 1 smash “Don’t Get Me Started.” He later released on album on Audium Records, before decided to venture out on his own. His last full-length came in 2006 with People Like Me, which features the song “Kiss My Country Ass.” Of course, we also know his son Thomas Rhett has been making a splash the past few years, too, with his solo work, as well as songwriting.

Other (more recent) songwriting credits: “Point At You” (Ross Copperman, Hayslip) and “For Some Ol’ Redneck Reason” (Justin Moore, Jeremy Stover) by  Moore; “Give Me Some Of That” by Thomas Rhett (Michael Carter, Cole Swindell); Swindell’s “Swayin’ It” (Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley); Frankie Ballard’s “Young & Crazy” (Gorley, Shane McAnally); Chris Young’s “Text Me Texas” (McAnally, Josh Osborne) and “We’re Gonna Find It Tonight” (Chris DeStefano, Young); Farr’s “Chicks, Trucks And Beer” (Wiseman); Shelton’s “Ten Times Crazier” (Marv Green, Hayslip) and “Granddaddy’s Gun” (Davidson, Bobby Pinson); Bryan’s “Dirt Road Diary” (Bryan, Davidson, Hayslip); Randy Houser’s “Route 3 Box 250 D” (Hayslip, Houser); among many, many others. [Official Website]

Dallas Davidson has had well over 100 of his compositions recorded by Nashville musicians–ranging from Brad Paisley to Luke Bryan. He enjoyed his first hit with the 2005 smash “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” by Trace Adkins. Since then, he has had more than 10 No. 1 hits on the charts, leading him to becoming the 2013 and 2012 ACM Songwriter of the Year, the 2011 and 2012 BMI Country Awards’ Songwriter of the Year and Billboard’s Hot Country Music Songwriter of 2010. Davidson is also the recipient of three CMA Triple Play Awards, one in 2010 and two in 2011.

Other (more recent) songwriting credits: Lady Antebellum’s “Just A Kiss” (Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley); Brad Paisley & Keith Urban’s “Start A Band” (Kelley Lovelace, Gorley); Ballard’s “Tell Me You Get Lonely” (Marty Dodson) and “Sober Me Up” (Gorley); Shelton’s “Granddaddy’s Gun” (Akins, Bobby Pinson); Bryan’s “That’s My Kind Of Night” (DeStefano, Gorley), “Play It Again” (Gorley), “Dirt Road Diary” (Bryan, Hayslip) and “We Run This Town” (Lovelace); Houser’s “Running Outta Moonlight” (Gorley, Lovelace) and “Sunshine On The Line” (Houser); Craig Campbell’s “Keep Them Kisses Comin'” (Hayslip); Jake Owen’s “Life Of The Party” (DeStefano, Gorley) and “Good Timing” (Zach Crowell, Gorley); among many, many others. [Official Website]

Ben Hayslip originally pursued sports and headed to Georgia Southern University, ultimately landing on their 1990 team. However, upon graduation, he decided to make the leap and move to Nashville to pursue his dreams of music-making. He then signed his first publishing deal with Don Daily (whose work includes credits for George Strait) in 1996. He later signed with This Music (via Rusty Gaston) in 2007 and has been with them ever since. Later on, he joined Akins and Dallas Davidson in a room to write. Their fist hit together, as the Peach Pickers, was Brooks & Dunn’s “Put A Girl In It” (2007). He became the 2011 and 2012 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year.

Fun fact: He grew up with Rhett Akins, and they penned their first song together in 1985.

Other (more recent) songwriting credits: Shelton’s “I’ll Just Hold On” (Troy Olsen, Bryant Simpson), “Honey Bee” (Akins) and “Ten Times Crazier” (Marv Green, Akins); Martina McBride’s “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” (Sonya Isaacs, Jimmy Yeary); Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know” featuring Luke Bryan and Eric Church (David Lee Murphy);  FGL’s “This Is How We Roll” featuring Bryan (Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Swindell, Bryan); Bryan’s “Dirt Road Diary” (Bryan, Davidson, Akins); Houser’s “Route 3 Box 250 D” (Akins, Houser); Moore’s “Point At You” (Ross Copperman, Akins); among many, many others. [Official Website]

Other notable songwriters and additional (more recent) songwriting credits:

Luke Laird: Eric Church’s “Give Me Back My Hometown” and “Talladega” (Church); Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” (Natalie Hemby, Barry Dean); Aldean’s “1994” (Dean,  Rhett); Ballard’s “Sunshine & Whiskey” and “Drinky Drink” (Jaren Johnston); Brett Eldredge’s “On and On” (Eldredge, Shane McAnally) and “Gotta Get There” (Dean, Eldredge); Bryan’s “I See You” (Gorley, Bryan); Owen’s “Tall Glass Of Something” (Johnston, Dean); Toby Keith’s “Drinks After Work” (Hemby, Dean); Sheryl Crow’s “We Oughta Be Drinkin'” (Crow,  Chris Dubois) and “Homecoming Queen” (Brandy Clark, Charlie Judge, McAnally); Thompson Square’s “Testing The Water” (Hillary Lindsey, McAnally); among many, many others.

Ashley Gorley: Underwood’s “Good Girl” (DeStefano, Underwood) and “Thank God For Hometowns” (Laird, Lindsey); Young’s “Aw Naw,” “A.M” and “Goodbye” (DeStefano, Young); Eldredge’s “Don’t Ya” (DeStefano, Eldredge); Bryan’s “Crash My Party (Clawson); Owen’s “Ghost Town” (DeStefano, McAnally) and “One Little Kiss (Never Killed Nobody)” (McAnally, Robbins); Joe Nichols’ “Yeah” (Bryan Simpson) and “Open Up A Can” (Davidson, Lovelace); Scotty McCreery’s “See You Tonight” and “Can You Feel It” (Crowell, McCreery); Paisley’s “Tin Can On A String” (Lovelace, Paisley); among many, many others.

Rodney Clawson: Eli Young Band’s “10,000 Towns” (TompkinsWiseman);  McGraw’s “One Of Those Nights” (LairdTompkins); Ballard’s “Helluva Life” (Josh KearTompkins); The Band Perry’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” (Sarah BuxtonTompkins); Shelton’s “Country On The Radio” (TompkinsWiseman); Crow’s “Calling Me When I’m Lonely” (Brent Anderson); Rhett’s “Take You Home” (GorleyTompkins); Moore’s “Lettin’ The Night Roll” (Moore, Jeremy Stover) and “That’s How I Know You Love Me” (Tompkins, Justin Weaver); among many, many others.

Fun Fact: He is married to singer-songwriter Nicolle Galyon, who was a finalist on The Voice‘s second season and has written with Miranda Lambert for her upcoming album Platinum.

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Author: Country Cadre

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