“The House That Built Me” touched a lot of people during its four-week stay at No. 1 this year. A bunch of people who were responsible for it — particularly Miranda Lambert and the song’s writers, Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin — were honored for the accomplishment during a No. 1 party Tuesday at the swanky Nashville restaurant Sambuca.
Miranda’s fiancee, Blake Shelton, was there with his producer, Scott Hendricks — fitting because they relinquished the song to Miranda after she heard the demo while riding home from the airport with Blake.
While Blake and Scott got verbal recognition at the party, Miranda, Tom, Allen and “House That Built Me” producers Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke were among a litany of people who were rewarded with plaques. They were hailed by Sony Music, by performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI, by the Country Music Association and by Country Radio Broadcasters, represented by GAC’s own Bill Cody.
“This song means the world to me,” Miranda said. “I cry every single night on stage singin’ it live — every single night. I still can’t sing this song without cryin’, and to me that’s a timeless song, and it should be Song of the Year.”
That sentiment is echoed around the music community by artists, songwriters, critics and record company executives. Unlike most years, it seems a foregone conclusion that “The House That Built Me” will walk off with that songwriting honor at the CMA awards Nov. 10 — amazing, because the nominations haven’t even been announced.
But Tom and Allen just laughed when asked if they had already prepared their acceptance speeches.
“I probably said ‘wow’ more about this than anything in my whole life,” Allen observed.
“The House That Built Me,” structured around someone returning to their childhood home to reconnect with their roots, has its own “wow” back story. Tom and Allen first wrote it about six years ago. It was essentially completed but got no interest. Tom decided they should get together a couple years ago and do a re-write, and the updated version clearly struck a chord.
“The context of time kinda lets you in some corners that you otherwise wouldn’t have seen before,” Tom explained.
Both writers know a thing or two about creating songs. Tom’s previous hits include Lady Antebellum’s “I Run To You,” Tim McGraw’s “Southern Voice” and Collin Raye’s “Little Rock.” Allen’s authored Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” Randy Travis’ “He Walked On Water” and David Ball’s “Thinkin’ Problem.”
But “The House That Built Me” has touched people in a manner beyond anything either of them imagined.
“It’s special to me in that I feel that [in] our culture, there’s a breakdown in community, and something about this song has encouraged people to reconnect,” Allen said. “I can’t tell you how many people have told me they’ve gone back to their hometown, or even to their old house, or called up an old friend, and that right there is probably one of the most special things — to be part of a song that’s encouraged people to come together and love each other.”
Love was at the heart of the song, too, since Miranda’s relationship with Blake was a key to her even hearing it in the first place.
“It’s all because of Scott Hendricks and my ‘financee,’” Miranda said, deliberately mispronouncing “fiance.” “I like to call him my ‘finance-eee,’ but I guess I’m gonna finance him now after this!”