NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville country artist Tim Montana’s path to sudden musical celebrity won’t be found in a guidebook on how to make it in the music industry.
Montana turned an inside joke with his friends and family into a song idea, co-wrote and recorded it with one of his musical idols, ZZ Top guitarist Billy F Gibbons, and pitched it to the Boston Red Sox, who have since turned “This Beard Came Here to Party” into their 2013 anthem.
And Montana, who is seven years into his music career in Nashville, did all that in a matter of days in September. Now that the song has been turned into a Red Sox highlight video on MLB.com and found its way on to Boston airwaves as the team marched toward the World Series, Tim Montana and the Shrednecks are on the brink of cashing in.
“People would ask me how I’m doing and I would say, ‘The beard came here to party,’ which my wife got sick of hearing,” Montana said of his idea for the song.
A whirlwind recording session saw Gibbons arrive and help finish the song, along with co-writer and producer Marshall Altman. It was during the recording when Gibbons said lightning literally struck near the studio. He took it as a good omen.
“Since the band had a start on a pretty good groove, I bowed out to let them put the pieces together,” Gibbons said. “(Band manager Paula Kay Hornick) and I went to Urban Grub on 12th. And while we were there, lightning literally struck the building. Some poor soul went scurrying up to make sure there was no damage and I said to Paula Kay, ‘Something’s going on good here.'”
Hornick said it was Brian O’Connell, president of Live Nation Nashville, who had the idea to pitch the song to the Red Sox. According to Montana, his management team pitched the song on Friday morning and got a positive response from the Red Sox that evening. Several Red Sox players have grown long ZZ Top-esque beards this season.
“This wasn’t manufactured. It wasn’t written for the team,” Hornick said. “It was a very organic experience.”
But Montana, 28, said the recording was merely a rough mix and needed to be completed, and mixed before it could be shipped up to Boston.
“What I liked about Tim Montana and the Shrednecks, they’re great players and when they got the call to show up at 1 a.m. to the studio to finish the song, they were all there,” Gibbons said.
Montana, who didn’t grow up a baseball fan, said he hasn’t seen royalty payments on the song yet since it was just released last month, but he’s hoping his song propels the band ahead. He said the band was starting to get attention from labels prior to the song taking off.
“I grew up in rural Montana, off the grid, no TV, no electricity,” Montana said. “We never watched sports. But I’ve always been intrigued with Boston because I’m from an Irish copper miner town. The fact they’ve embraced me and my music, I’ll fight for the Red Sox now.”
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