Meadville Tribune

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June 1, 2010

Hit-song writer and former local Laird enjoys Nashville music scene

MEADVILLE — Luke Laird is having a terrific year.

Well, the flood wasn’t so great. But otherwise, 2010 has been pretty good to the Hartstown native.

Laird now lives in Nashville where he works as a songwriter. In early May, Laird’s new hometown was pounded by more than 13 inches of rain over the span of just two days, causing the Cumberland River to overflow its banks and sweep through the city. Lives were lost. Homes and businesses were destroyed. Damage estimates topped $1.5 billion.

“We picked a good time to be at the beach,” said Laird.

When the rains hit, Laird was off in Key West, Fla., soaking up some rays and taking part in a big songwriters festival.

He made calls back home to have friends check on his house.

“They said, ‘It looks OK,’ ” said Laird.

When Laird returned to Nashville, the rains had ended, but much of the city was under water.

“The house looked fine,” he said, “but the drains in the yard were shooting up like geysers, there was so much water. We looked in the basement and it was just filled with water.”

Laird had to replace a hot water tank and an electric control panel. He considers himself lucky.

“As far as the flood, I feel like we were really fortunate as far as how minor our water damage was compared to what other people are going through.

“I have friends that, really, lost everything.”

So he dodged the Nashville floods while living in Nashville.

That’s just one example of how things have been going Laird’s way lately.

What about professionally? Well, he’s already had songwriting credits on two singles that reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Chart in 2010. 

Blake Shelton’s “Hillbilly Bone,” which Laird wrote with Craig Wiseman, reached No. 1 in January. Then in April, Laird hit the top spot again with Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home,” which he wrote with Underwood and Zac Maloy.

Now, Laird’s got a third song heading skyward. It’s also with Underwood. It’s called “Undo It,” and it’s currently 14th on the country chart.

“The last year and a half has been, by far, the best I’ve done in the music business since I started,” he said.

Success seems to have seeped into Laird’s personal life as well.

This June he’s tying the knot with fiancé Beth Mason.

It was the job that brought them together.

“I was a songwriter for BMG Publishing,” said Laird. “And at the time she was a receptionist for BMG.”

Five years later, they’re walking down the aisle.

“I’ve been very lucky there,” said Laird. “Probably a little out of my league on that one, actually.”

Still, while things are going well for the former local, there are a lot of people in his current home base that aren’t doing so hot due to the flood.

The country music community has banded together to help out, holding various benefit concerts and fundraising events. And Laird, being very much a part of that community, is doing his part.

In fact, shortly after the interview for this story, Laird was due at a popular music club in downtown Nashville. He and a couple of other songwriters were playing a benefit gig with proceeds going to flood victims.

When things are going your way, it’s important to give some back.

“The city’s really pulled together,” said Laird. “It’s been pretty cool, actually, to see how supportive and encouraging everybody has been.”

Pete Chiodo can be reached at 724-6370 ext. 275 or by e-mail at pchiodo@meadvilletribune.com.

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