Bob DiPiero isn't a household name, but he's probably had more No. 1 hits than the country music superstars who've fronted his songs, like McGraw, Brooks & Dunn and Strait. But it isn't the fact that he's had, oh, 15 No. 1 hits and countless other charting songs that surprises DiPiero. It's that he's still in the game.
"The thing that most amazes me is that I'm still doing this 30 years from the first song that I ever had recorded, which was by Reba McEntire. That's like three lifetimes in a songwriter's career," DiPiero half-jokes. "It's my love and my passion, so I just feel lucky every day I still get to write songs."
The CMA board member also helmed the annual songwriter's tour, basing it on Nashville's Bluebird Cafe's in-the-round songwriter sessions, which similarly feature the people behind the hits with big stars often dropping by. Last summer, Kenny Chesney sat in on a tour stop and this year Carrie Underwood does likewise.
"Kenny really has a songwriter's heart. That's the key to these shows, especially when we have these iconic performers like Kenny and Carrie. They are both songwriters, they are both involved in writing their songs and choosing their songs. They take a seat at the shows with the right credentials."
Making a hit
Before DiPiero hit the road for the tour, he chatted to us from Nashville, where he's working on songs with Grammy winner extraordinaire T Bone Burnett for a new TV series called "Nashville." We asked for his secret to writing a No. 1 hit:
"If there was a secret, I would keep it to myself and I'd work only one day a week," DiPiero chuckles. "It's a combination of a gift, tenacity, hard work and timing. And luck! Songwriters I know who have had a long career are hard workers. They don't wait for inspiration to come to them; they go seek it out. We have to continually create."
If you go
CMA Songwriters Series featuring Bob DiPiero, Little Big Town and Natalie Hemby
Tonight, 6:30 & 9 p.m.
425 Lafayette St.