“We started the song with The Lord’s Prayer. The crazy thing about that was I did this thing. It was a military deal called ORW – Operation Restored Warrior – and I played the song for these guys. The beginning of this song has this fiddle part. It was a slow piece that kind of just seemed like Blackhawk Down-ish going into battle and one of them pulled me to the side later, actually the next day, and he said, ‘Man, I love that song. That’s what I go into battle listening to. I’d love to hear that but the beginning of that song gave me goosebumps in a bad way and it reminded me of ging into battle in a bad way,’ and he said because that is that actual call to prayer of another religion. I’m gonna stay out of that, but that is not what I stand for at all. I said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that (laughs). We just thought it sounded cool,’ so I just tried to think of another way . . . ‘What else can I do because I cannot start my album with that?’ So my next thought was say The Lord’s Prayer. That’s what you say as a football team before you go on the field and that’s my life. That’s where I came from. That’s my beliefs. I’m gonna pour that onto the record and it was a really cool, strong way to start the album.”
2] "On Tonight"
“I’m a huge half time chorus guy. I love half time choruses and it’s just got this gallop thing in the verses then it goes boom – big half time chorus. I just liked it right when I heard it. I’ve been in that situation so many times when you’re with a girl and you just keep calling each other, keep delaying the breakup. You hope it’s on. ‘We’ve been on-again and off-again so many times I hope it’s on tonight,’ so that’s an example of one that I didn’t write that’s on the record just cause I heard it and I was like, ‘Man, I’ve been there and I love what the song . . . ‘ I wouldn’t have written it any other way. I listened to it and I’m like, ‘I’m not gonna change anything.’”
“Believe it or not, Tyrone, who’s one of the guitar players for Sam Hunt, I was at Sam’s place, just a pool party a year and a half ago or something and I played him a song. He was like, ‘Dude, that’s cool, but if you want that idea my buddies are writing a song that’s . . . ‘ He played me a little bit of it and I was like, ‘Oh, that is cool,’ so I went and finished it with them and made it real personal to me about an ex-girlfriend, that girl that’s unforgettable, that you just always have these things that when you see they remind you of that person, and that’s what that song’s about, and it’s in a fun way. It’s not in an ultra-sad, I’m drinking myself to death way. It’s just you see these things and it reminds you of that old love.”
4] "Eyes On You"
‘Eyes On You’ is a piano-driven song. Ashley Gorley played that piano that day we wrote it and we didn’t change it. I was like, ‘That’s what made me love it in the first place. We’re not gonna change it.’ Some of these places I’ve been. Some of these places I want to go, so I took all these different things of like where I’ve been, where I want to go. It’s almost like that perfect girl in this song. For me it’s not about one particular one. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble who thinks it is, but maybe one day. We’ll see, but, yeah, it’s Big Sur, California, Paris, all these different places that you go with this person but you miss it all cause your eyes are on her. To a non-stalker, creepy way that’s what most women want and most guys – they’ll probably never admit it but – they want that as well. They want to have that girl. They don’t care about the Eiffel Tower. Their eyes are on her, and that’s what that one’s about.”
5] "Saved Me"
“’Saved Me’ is a very personal song. Most guys I know find a way to screw their lives up pretty much as hard as they can, me being one of them, and then that one girl comes along who just kind of rights your world, and for me that actually happened and we’re not together and that’s okay. I don’t think we were right for each other but it did start me on this crash course of, ‘Woah, I can’t live like I was living if I want anything real like this,’ and that’s what that song’s about. It’s about that girl that comes along that wrecks your world in a good way, that shows you that the way you were living, that ain’t worth it. ‘It’s almost like you were sent here to save me and you saved me.’”
6] "One Love One Kiss"
“This was a fun write cause it was just me and Jesse Rice on guitar. Jesse and I co-wrote ‘Cruise’ together. I can’t even remember . . . We had a different title for it, it just turned into that and clearly I have some ex-relationships that I needed to get out on this album, and that’s the coolest part about this record is I got ‘em on this record but I’m not bitter about any of them. I’m in a really good place, and I’m not slamming anybody either. That’s what it was and I’ve got all these things that remind me of these people that have been such a big part of my life and led me to where I am. I’m gonna sing about it.”
7] "Jack Daniels Showed Up"
“I got this idea. Me and one of my buddies, he used to come – his name’s Gavin – he always used to come to my farm and we’d work. We wouldn’t work on cars which is what the song starts about but we’d work on the farm. We’d bush hog, we’d pull trees out, whatever needed to be done that day, and he was drinking a lot those days and now he’s actually cleaned his act up. We’d start around 10 a.m. but then around 2 or 3 p.m. we’d stop getting any work done because I bought myself a barrel of Jack Daniels and (he’s say), ‘You got any of those bottles from your barrel? ‘Gavin, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon.’ ‘That’s all good,’ and so we’d crack out the Jack Daniels and we’d stop getting work done real fast but the day would turn real fun so it was worth it.”
8] "Three Chords And The Truth"
“Yeah, Harlan Howard coined the phrase. Somebody asked him, they said, ‘What is country music to you,’ and he said, ‘country music is three chords and the truth.’ Basically he’s saying it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just stop trying to do all this shred on guitar or play this crazy thing on piano, whatever, just make it basic and tell the truth, and that’s what this one’s based on, and all the song in ‘Three Chords & The Truth’ are three chords and we wanted to be real specific on that, but that’s what this song (is about.) It’s so cool because people get it. People get the songs that are in the song. People get the song and what it’s trying to say and it takes them back to a place, it takes me back to a place. It reminds me of all these songs along the way, and hopefully this song itself will do that for somebody.”
“’Amen’ is probably one of my favorite songs on the record for sure. It’s just me and piano to start and then a choir comes in. This song is my song. I didn’t even write it and it’s my song because when I heard it it took me to a place which is exactly what we put in the music video. My favorite line on the whole album I think is ‘to not knowing the secret to life but damn sure knowing where it starts, amen,’ and that’s what life’s all about. If you can figure that out . . . You’re not gonna figure life out, that’s just the way it goes but you can at least figure out . . . Once you figure out where it starts, that’s when you start living and that’s what that song’s about for me.”
10] "This Cowboy's Hat"
“I didn’t want to do it myself. I knew I’d screw it up because it was such a huge song for Chris and I wanted to respect Chris and make it something he’d be proud of so I got a hold of the Western Underground guys who was his band and they said, ‘No, we can’t do that. It’s too personal to us,’ and I said, ‘Okay, I get that. What about Ned LeDoux?’ We absolutely did it justice, and I say that with complete confidence not because of me but because Ned jumped in on it. Mark Sissel of Western Underground was there the whole day. He even played a little part on it and Mac McAnally produced it, who produced Chris, so it was like all these parts came together. I don’t know how. I didn’t do that. I’m not that good, so the divine power that made all this happen, I think it’s gonna be a pretty special song for it.”