Little Big Town, Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett, Jon Pardi Join Top Songwriters For ACM Stories, Songs & Stars


Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for ACM

Elvis had not left the building Friday night.

At ACM Stories, Songs & Stars: A Songwriter’s Event Benefitting ACM Lifting Lives Friday night (April 13), Jon Pardi took being in Las Vegas to heart. He came on stage dressed in full Elvis Presley regalia, complete with white jumpsuit and cape, red scarf and sunglasses.

Pardi’s appearance was the sizzle in a night that was devoted to the steak: songwriters telling the stories behind some of their biggest hits. The event — hosted by The Joint at the The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino — featured a Murderer’s Row of Nashville’s top songwriters, including Academy of Country Music Awards songwriter of the year nominees Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley, Hillary Lindsey, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, as well as Lori McKenna and Liz Rose, who combined are responsible for hundreds of hits. Gorley alone has written 36 No. 1 songs, a fact that gave Osborne an opportunity to crack a good-natured joke: “At one point, Ashley has 11 of the songs in the Top 10.”

The songwriters were brought out in rounds, with a chart-topping artist joining them for each turn throughout the loose-limbed evening. For the first round, Thomas Rhett joined Gorley, McAnally and his dad, Rhett Akins. McAnally, Gorley and songwriter Jesse Frasure, who was in the audience, shared the story behind Rhett’s recent No. 1, “Marry Me,” a heartbreaking tale that he will perform on the 53rd ACM Awards Sunday night (April 15).

“Everybody was tired of hearing about [Thomas Rhett’s] happy life,” Frasure joked. The song, written on Rhett’s tour bus, is “the anti-Thomas Rhett love song,” Frasure said. Before launching into it, Rhett called it the “saddest song” he’s ever recorded.

While the evening focused on recent hits, Rhett reveled in sharing the stage with his dad, who took home the ACM Award…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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