I don’t update my phone. I get nervous when my wife wants to move the furniture. I had an idea to write a song about that concept…that I don’t believe everything needs to be updated to be right, and the title “old hat” came to mind. I was lookin at down at my feet in contemplation, and of course I had my usual footwear on, and that’s when it came to me how to turn the phrase. I took the idea to my co-writers, Ryan Tyndell and Matt Jenkins, and we wrote “I ain’t ready to give old hat the boot.”
Don Reid, lead singer of the Statler Brothers, wrote a lot of the songs on their records, and that was a big influence on me as a kid. He is also an author, and I was reading the blog on his web site one day, and he was talking bout how crazy the world has become, mentioned a few headlines that seemed unbelievable, and he said something like “I’m not writing fiction because I can’t keep up with reality.” I thought “fiction” sounded like a song…just had to put the girl in it.
I was driving in to write one day and saw a road crew patching holes in the blacktop, and I said to myself, “asphalt.” I’ve walked down many an asphalt road just for fun before and after I was old enough to drive, and when you’re supposed to be home by dark and you’re still a mile from the house at dusk, you pick up the pace. So I had “asphalt” and “fast walk”, along with a melody for a verse when I was invited one year to a cabin in North Carolina to write with Eric Church, whom I’ve been honored to play for on the road for over 12 years. We didn’t know where the song was going, just kinda let it dictate the story one line at a time, and getting to “baby” seemed like a good reason to be walking fast down an asphalt road.
My publisher, Arthur Buenahora, set up a writing appointment between me and Luke Dick for the first time, and I was up late the night before wood shedding, trying to find an idea that was outside the box enough to write with this guy who I had researched online just enough to know he was an eccentric. I must’ve said a prayer for a great idea, because that’s what I often do when I’m feeling like I’m all written out, and I think God answered that night. I had a melody, and parts of a verse and chorus by the time we got together the next day, and Luke liked the vibe. We put our heads together and wrote Cold on Luke’s back porch while smokin cigars in the August heat.
I came up with the verse and chorus of this song while trying to stockpile ideas for an artist write I had coming up. He didn’t bite, so I sent what I had to Casey Beathard and he sent me back the second verse and bridge. I saw something like this happen to a guy in a popular tv show a couple years later…all that’s left of the girl and what they had together is in the ash tray.
Oscar Charles, Ryan Tyndell, Jacob Powell and I took a trip to Gatlinburg for a couple days and rented a cabin to hole up in and try to write a few songs. When you’re trying to come up with ideas, sometimes you look around and the idea is right there in front of you. Seemed like an appropriate title for where we were, and Oscar started playing a cool bass line that got us going. No big deal to be in a cabin and have cabin fever, that’s pretty common, but what if the kind of cabin fever she has is not the kind you think? Well, that would be a different story altogether. As a side note, about two days after we left that cabin, wildfires blew in and burned a swath through the mountainside.
My good friend and co-writer Clint Daniels had this title the day we got together to write with Michael Heeney, also a good friend of ours and a wise old owl of songwriting prestige. As we often do, we were talking about how life surely must’ve been simpler 50 years ago, and wondering how we ever drifted so far. I guess they were asking the same thing back then and probably will be 50 years from now. I’m glad Clint shared his idea with us that day...this is one of the songs I’m most proud to have been a part of.
One of my all time favorite singers is Don Williams. He seemed to be a man of few words, but with that voice and talent, he carried a big stick. I heard him in an interview one time when asked why he shied away from the public spotlight reply “I’ve always felt like you don’t have to know Henry Ford to drive one.” That resonated with me. In this age of facebook posts and twitter accounts, which I realize can be useful at times, I still think there’s value in letting your work speak for itself.
I had this title and parts of the chorus when I got together to write with Jon Randall. He really got the vision and helped fashion that first verse into a picture. This song is for my wife April. Sometimes just for a second the world stops, and it’s a good thing.
My friends Clint Daniels and Ryan Tyndell are believers like I am, and we wanted to write a song that honored our Savior and talked about the hope we have because of our faith in Him. Jesus said whoever believes in me has eternal life. What could give anyone more hope than that? I wanted to end the album by reminding myself and anyone who will listen that because of what He did, we know how the story ends.