DALLAS DAVIDSON ALSO IS NAMED IN A LAWSUIT FILED BY A TEXAS MAN WHO SAYS THE TWO ALBANY-AREA COUNTRY STARS STOLE THE PREMISE OF THE SONG ‘RAIN IS A GOOD THING’ FROM HIM
By Kevin Hogencamp
Rain makes corn. Corn makes whiskey. And, says a Texas deputy sheriff who moonlights as a singer-songwriter, Leesburg’s Luke Bryan and Albany’s Dallas Davidson are copyright thieves.
In a federal lawsuit filed this month, J.D. Monson of Flower Mound, says that that the premise or “hook” for the recent No. 1 country song “Rain is a Good Thing” penned by Bryan and Davidson was illegally taken from a song Monson wrote in 1999.
Davidson told The Albany Journal on Tuesday that the lawsuit has no merit and that he and Bryan will vigorously defend themselves against Monson.
“It’s sickening. Luke and I have never heard of this singer, we’ve never heard his song, and we never even heard of his song until Friday,” upon learning of the lawsuit, said Davidson, who along with Bryan now lives in Nashville, Tenn., where have achieved stardom for their songwriting and singing talents, respectively.
Monson is seeking $150,000, the statutory limit for copyright infringement awards in the United States.
“We are very disappointed that somebody would make groundless accusations and we intend to defend ourselves and our copyrighted work,” Davidson said. “It’s something we’re taking very seriously.”
“Rain is a Good Thing”, a single from Bryan’s 2009 album “Doin’ My Thing,” is among country music’s most successful songs of 2010. Monson says he wrote “Rain Makes Corn,” which he says is his “signature song,” in 1999. Both songs have the line, “rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey.” Otherwise, the lyrics and music are quite different.
In the song co-authored by Bryan and Davidson, the line “rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey” is followed by “whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky.” In Monson’s song, “rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey” is followed by “whiskey makes me feel fine.”
“Rain makes corn and corn makes whiskey is a common phrase we’ve heard most of our lives,” Davidson said. “It’s just so disappointing to have to deal with this. We are basically shocked about it. Our song, our lyrics are something we created based on phrases we heard growing up in Albany, in an agricultural community.
“Everybody down there in Albany knows that Luke and I wouldn’t do something like this. It’s a common phrase kind of like saying, ‘I don’t know him from Adam’s housecat.’ And I don’t know this guy (Monson) from Adam’s housecat.
Monson says in the lawsuit that Bryan and Davidson infringed upon the copyright of Monson’s work by registering “Rain is a Good Thing” as copyrighted material, and that the two copied and profited from Monson’s work.
“Defendants clearly used Monson’s song entitled ‘Rain Makes Corn” as a model, template and inspiration for their song ‘Rain is a Good Thing,’” the lawsuit states. “At no time did defendants retain or acquire a license, or otherwise secure Monson’s permission to use Monson’s copyrighted work. Since Bryan’s ‘Rain is a Good Thing’ was released, Monson has received numerous communications either (a) congratulating him for his number one hit or (b) telling him that someone had stolen his song.”
Also in the lawsuit, Monson says that Bryan and Davidson have had “a reasonable opportunity to have been exposed to Monson’s song” because “in this age of social networking and YouTube, virtually every person in this country and outside this country has had access to Monson’s copyrighted work – ‘Rain Makes Corn’ – since year 2001.”
Further, “defendants have traveled to and/or performed in many of the cities and have had access to the same media outlets,” the lawsuit states.
Also named in Monson’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas, are Capitol Records LLC, Bug Music LLC, and Bryan’s and Davidson’s companies, Row Crop LLC and Georgia Boys Music LLC.
Asked why he thinks the lawsuit was filed, Davidson replied, “I don’t know what his motives are. It’s just unfortunate.”
In a recent television interview aired before the lawsuit was filed, Davidson told the story of learning the phrase “rain makes corn; corn makes whiskey” from Leesburg farmer Stan Cannon.
“He was the first person I remember hearing saying it,” Davidson said of Cannon. “We lived a half mile from his farm and every time it would cloud up, we’d say that we can’t go fishing or hunting and he’d say, ‘Alright boys, rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey.”
Bryan said in a recent interview that as the son of a farmer, “we were always looking up at the sky, checking if it was raining.”
“That always kind of set the tone for the mood in my household, whether we had raining coming in or not,” he said. “If it had rained, we knew the crops would be good and it was going to be a good day or a good week around the Bryan household … Dallas and I used to have the saying, ‘Rain makes corn, and corn makes whiskey,’ and it was just something we always said.”
Longtime close friends, Davidson and Bryan are scheduled to play at the State Theatre in Albany on Nov. 24 for the fourth annual homecoming Turkey Jam concert.
“We probably ought to open the show with, ‘Rain is a Good Thing,’” Davidson said. “But seriously, what we’re facing with this (lawsuit) is a serious thing. It’s not a joking matter.”
Monson performs mostly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He has performed abroad, opened for country superstar George Strait, and had an appearance on the television show “My Fair Wedding” in May. He says that “Rain Makes Corn” has been posted on the internet since 2001.
Bryan won the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards Top New Solo Vocalist and Top New Artist. “Rain is a Good Thing” is Bryan’s first No. 2 hit; “Doin’ My Thing” also produced the No. 2 country hit, “Do I”.
Like Bryan, Davidson’s career also has exploded since his move to Nashville. Trace Adkins recorded Davidson’s “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”, taking the song to No. 2 on the country charts in early 2006. Davidson co-wrote the Brad Paisley-Keith Urban duet “Start a Band,” which reached No. 1 in early 2009 and earned Davidson an award from BMI. He also co-wrote Billy Currington‘s “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” which went to No. 1 this year, among other popular songs by Brooks & Dunn, Joe Nichols, Blake Shelton and Josh Turner.