The true story behind Lee Brice"s 2013 nation hit is so an effective that it"s tough for that is songwriters to talk about without acquiring choked up. Connie Harrington was listening to NPR when she heard an interview v a father whose child had died while offer in Afghanistan. She shared the story v songwriters Jessi Alexander and also Jimmy Yeary, and also the track they wrote ultimately made it come the optimal of the country charts — and back to the father, whose name Harrington hadn"t originally captured on the radio. She and Alexander talked around the song with Bart Herbison, executive, management director of Nashville Songwriters combination International.

You are watching: Country song i drive your truck

You (heard) one interview, Connie, the was really powerful, and also that"s how this tune started.

CH: It to be a radio interview top top NPR. I was in the car. This to be Memorial Day and a gentleman called Paul Monti come on the air, and also they were interviewing him about losing his boy in Afghanistan, and he to be trying come petition to obtain the best to put flags on your graves. In the cemetery whereby he to be laid come rest, lock didn"t desire (flags) all roughly him. Lock were questioning him questions about that, and asking him exactly how he coped with the lose of his son, and he claimed that that drove his truck, and began to describe it. ... I created down post-it note in the car, weeping, simply hearing the details the his truck. I obtained with Jessi the next week and started the song.


Jessi, what perform you psychic next?

JA: I simply remember gift pregnant v twins, and not even really wanting to go to work. Yet I experienced Connie on my (schedule) and would never miss out on a day v her. She constantly has great titles. Connie is known for having actually so many good ideas. She began to kind of go through various ones, but they weren"t really striking mine fancy. I was a small foggy indigenous the pregnancy. Climate she said, "Well, ns do have actually this one," and she automatically started come cry. Ns said, "Well, permit me hear that!" ... She accurate couldn"t. She said, "Later." In my mind, I"m thinking, "That"s the one we"re walk to create today."

I desire to compliment the three of you because the moment for battle songs has actually sort that passed. I could have checked out all three of you talking yourselves out of composing that tune that day.

JA: and truck songs, which at the time were the pinnacle to our format. When she ultimately came around to saying the title, immediately, i knew I had a huge responsibility. ... I didn"t want to mess it up. Ns knew for a fact, with every little thing in me, that ns was not specifically meant to create this melody. There was a absent piece for united state in the room, and also for me, that was a male voice. Gift female songwriters, we really struggle writing song for men without that.

CH: It can be also high, or the phrasing (wouldn"t work).

JA: i knew 100 percent the wasn"t a girl song ... Us knew it was worth the to offer away a 3rd (of royalties) — which a the majority of writers wouldn"t carry out — for the benefits of the song. He simply nailed it, and also I"ll never forget the feeling of when it to be done. The prayer that come over all of us, like "please allow this song just be heard" for this reason one day that guy could hear the song.

(Connie), you met the father. Talk around that.

CH: Well, i didn"t record his name in the interview, so we didn"t understand who it was. I dubbed NPR and did every one of this searching. Curb documents tried to uncover him. It was 2 weeks before the No. 1 party, and also finally, I changed my (Internet) search words and he popped up with a photo of the truck and his name. And also we didn"t recognize that Jared (his son) had won the Medal the Honor. I didn"t record that in the interview. Anyway, us cold-called him, all together (laughs). It to be crazy.

JA: It"s tough to even explain because it felt like, after ~ so much searching, it to be something the was never going to happen. To discover him, it"s favor this full-circle moment, and also I yes, really don"t have words.

CH: how special it was to speak through him, and then have him concerned the No. 1 party.

It had to be part of his healing trip to know that (his story) touched so plenty of people.

JA: A lot of of human being (talk come us around the song). ... I had people that thought it was about a mam or your grandfather. That doesn"t matter. Grief is grief. I"m so grateful that us touched the chord of army families.

CH: Acknowledging the civilization left behind. World felt acknowledged.

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— Compiled through Dave Paulson, The

About the series

In partnership through Nashville Songwriters association International, we will release a video clip interview v a songwriter about his or her occupational each week.