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Local Songwriter Josh Dunne Captures First Number One Hit

Former Sullivan resident Josh Dunne has been busy since his days in Sullivan, working the Nashville music scene and writing hundreds of songs with other singer/songwriters in music city, but these years of hard work paid off recently as Dunne, who co-wrote “What Happens In a Small Town,” preformed by country artist Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell, recently hit number one.

Dunne co-wrote the song with one of his best friends, Brock Berryhill, Brantley Keith Gilbert and Rhett Akins.

Dunne, who fell in love with country music at a young age began writing around the age of 14-15 and began writing songs after teaching himself how to play the guitar. 

Following all this, Dunne moved to Nashville in 2006 and signed his first publishing deal in 2008-09.

Dunne spoke with Sullivan Independent News regarding his recent success, his years of work and what the future holds for him.

How did it feel to have this song hit number one and what was it like the first time you heard it on country radio?

“It’s honestly hard to put into words what it felt like to have this song go number one, “ said Duane. “After working 13 years to get to this point, it has taken a while to sink in. A couple years ago I was without a publishing deal and I remember looking at my wife and asking, “should I have done anything else with my life?” “Should I just give up on the dream?” One thing that I knew though is that most of Nashville’s successful songwriters had to grind over a decade to get to where they’re at now. The road getting here has been a long one but it just makes it that much sweeter. Hearing it for the first time on the radio was definitely when it hit me that, ok this is real. I felt about 12 years get lifted off my shoulders and I cranked the radio up as loud as it could go!”

How did your family react there and back home in Sullivan to your success with this single?

“My family has been with me every step of the way through this so it meant a lot to be able to give them something to show for all there years of support. I was blown away by all the love I got from so many people back in Sullivan. All the texts, Facebook messages, phone calls were over whelming. I don’t know if I could’ve made the move to Nashville back then had it not been for all my family and friends telling me that I could do it and 13 years later that support is still just as strong.”

How was the celebration recently for the number one record and what did Lindsey Ell and Brantley Gilbert have ti say about it? Also what did you think when they decided to record the song?

“The number one party was awesome!, said Dunne. “Usually those parties are held at one of the PRO buildings on music row but Brantley had the idea that we should have it at an indoor go cart track so that made it even better. Along with it being my first number one, it was also Lindsay first number one so that was really special. Her story is a lot like mine. She talked about how she’s dreamed about this since she was a little girl and how she has been in town for ten years trying to get to this point. So I think for me to be a part of her story is just really cool. Brantley talked about his excitement for the songs success but he said the most exciting thing for him was being a part of Lindsay and I’s first number one. Also getting to be up there with one of my best friends, Brock Berryhill, made it that much better. Him and I have spent a lot of years in the trenches together trying to make this happen. It’s his second number one, his first one was “Good As You,” by Kane Brown. Some of my family were able to make it down from Missouri too which meant a lot to me.”

“Brock and I actually got to be in the studio when they recorded this with producer Dan Huff. I remember just sitting there on the couch thinking. “is this really happening?” “And even then, it’s still no guarantee that the song will make it on there. Thankfully we found out pretty quick that this song was not only going to be on the record but it was actually going to be the first single. I was already a fan of Lindsay Ell too so when I found that she was going to be the duet partner, I couldn’t have been more excited.”

What’s up next for Josh Dunne? You still playing live anywhere or strictly focused on writing?

“Things have definitely gotten busier for me now which has been great, said Dunne. “I have two girls, four and one and a copy on the way so I put the brakes on artist ambitions for a while and focus mainly on writing so I can be home more. Not to say I won’t get back into performing again someday but for now I am definitely enjoying where I’m at. I’m excited for everybody to hear some more songs coming out soon too! The Cadillac Three are releasing a new album on February 7 and I have two songs on it, “All The Makin’s,” and “Jack Daniels Heart.” Later in the year I’ll be able to announce a couple other big ones too that I think everyone will be excited about!”

The Sullivan Independent News will keep up with this local singer/songwriter and provide updates on his future success.


Sullivan Independent News

Sullivan Independent News
411 Scottsdale
Sullivan, MO 63080

Phone: 573-468-6511
Fax: 573-468-4046