Frazer Harrison/Getty
August 21, 2014 03:00 PM

At Brett Eldredge‘s Nashville party celebrating “Beat of the Music” – his second No. 1 hit from his debut album Bring You Back – the singer got nostalgic over how far he’s come since the early days of trying to break into the music business.

The most sentimental moments of the night? Well, those were inspired by his mom – and the worm in a bottle of tequila.

Presenting a bottle of Monte Alban tequila to his co-writers Heather Morgan and Ross Copperman, Eldredge, 28, explained the poignant gift to partygoers.

“I first got to know Ross and Heather at an after-party for some awards show. We were all just starting out and had about $5 between us, our whole bank account,” he said with a laugh. “After we left we walked back to the building where my publishing company was and in the cabinet was a bottle of tequila with a worm in the bottom that had probably been there 10 years. That’s all we had and we drank it.

“Ross and I have always joked that if the three of us ever got a hit song, we’d take another crack at the worm. This takes me back to that time when we were playing songwriter rounds together and probably had a worm in the bottom of a tequila bottle’s chance of making it in this business. But here we are, with a No. 1 song and another bottle of tequila with a worm in the bottom.”

The party was the second celebration for “Beat of the Music,” the most-played country song of 2014 to date. In July, Eldredge marked the milestone by shark diving in the Bahamas (in 2013, he took a sky dive for his first No. 1, “Don’t Ya.”)

If anyone deserved a party on solid ground, it was his mother Robin, who couldn’t watch either of what Eldredge calls those “extreme No. 1 parties.” “There are some things it’s best to keep your mom in the dark about,” he told PEOPLE in July.

But he turned the spotlight on her, his father Chris and brother Brice Wednesday night from the small platform in the BMI lobby. “My mom, dad and brother are here, my family is the biggest part of my world,” he said emotionally, gesturing toward them.

“They all supported this crazy dream of mine. Back when I was starting on stages smaller than this, there would be two speakers, one at each corner and a lady on the soundboard, that lady being my mom, who learned to run sound by reading the ‘how to run sound’ booklet. I wouldn’t be here today if not for them.”

Eldredge’s current single, “Mean to Me,” is climbing the country charts, though the singer said he hasn’t decided what crazy stunt he’ll try if that song hits No. 1, too. In the meantime, you can catch him on the road this summer with Keith Urban‘s Raise ‘Em Up tour.

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