Music trade publication Country Air Check has announced that “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” co-written by Terry Sawchuk, is the most performed country song of the decade 2011-2021 at radio.
The song – written by Sawchuk, Dylan Altman, and Eric Paslay, and recorded by Jake Owen – was released in 2011, and has since earned almost 500,000 airplays on the radio, almost 35 million views on YouTube, and sold almost three million copies. The single also won Sawchuk a SOCAN Award, a Nashville Songwriters Association International No. 1 Award, a Country Music Academy No. 1 Award, and a nomination as Music Row’s Breakout Songwriter of The Year. It was the 2012 ASCAP Song of The Year.
Owen presented the award to co-writers Sawchuk and Paslay (Altman wasn’t available) onstage at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, during a performance on July 15, 2021.
“It was Sept. 27, 2010, in an attic on the fourth floor of a publishing house on Music Row,” says Sawchuk, describing how the song came together. “We felt like pedestrians, watching from afar as ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night’ fell together in an hour-and-a-half, right before our eyes. It was so weirdly effortless and natural, definitely not your average writing day on Music Row.
“Unfortunately, labels weren’t responding to our simple guitar-and-vocal demo. We were tired of years of hearing the word ‘no,’ and too many songs being dropped from albums. This song felt too special, so we decided to take an outside-the-box approach. It wasn’t until I added an R&B beat in the verse, and a hip-hop beat in the chorus, Eric’s signature high-strung guitar playing, and Dylan’s New Jersey-esque gang-vocal ‘woohs’ in the chorus, that record labels took notice. Urban beats in country music? A production approach that in 2010 could get you thrown out of town…. LOL!
“Ten years later, Jake Owen surprised us onstage at The Ryman with this award. It just points to his humility and gratitude as a person, beyond being a fearless artist. We’re all so thankful and humbled by this award.”
Sawchuk is no stranger to success, as an artist, producer, songwriter, music publisher, and mixer for almost 30 years. In 2005, he produced and co-wrote his first No. 1 song for Universal Music artist Matt Dusk, “Back in Town” – which also became the first jazz song in history to hit No. 1 on the Japanese pop charts. Dusk’s Canadian single “All About Me,” which Sawchuk produced, reached No. 1 on Adult Contemporary radio in Canada; his album My Funny Valentine: The Songs of Chet Baker was JUNO-nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and also earned a double-platinum award in Poland.
Kobalt Music signed Sawchuk to a worldwide music publishing deal in 2013, and the following year Canadian country music chart-topper Chad Brownlee released Sawchuk’s song “Falling Over You” as a single, reaching the Top 10 on Canada’s Country Chart. In 2017, the 20th Anniversary release of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album featured two songs co-written by Morissette and Sawchuk. He also co-wrote “This One’s On Me” with longtime Shania Twain and AC/DC producer/songwriter Mutt Lange, Simon Fuller-managed artist Ashley Clark, and Mike Krompass.
Most recently, Sawchuk co- wrote and co-produced the song “Blow” with Toronto artist Ruby Waters. It reached No. 1 on the CBC Music Top 20 in May, and peaked at No. 5 on Canadian Alternative Radio. “Blow” was co-written by Ruby Waters, Jackson Willows, and Sawchuk.