If you’re in the music industry or even a Nashville local, you’re familiar with what a writer’s round is. Basically, it’s when a group of singer/songwriters share a stage and take turns playing songs they’ve written. They usually share the stories behind the songs too.
I went to a special round last week to benefit City of Hope, which is a cancer treatment and research center in California. It was different than most rounds I go to, because these songwriters have written very popular country and pop songs. Usually when I go, I’m hearing songs for the first time by new artists. Among the singer/songwriters at this event were Rhett Akins, Devin Dawson, Lauren Alaina, Liz Rose, Jessi Alexander, and Lee Thomas Miller. You might not recognize some of those names, but they have written songs recorded by Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett and many more.
I’ll share my favorite story from that night by one great songwriter who was there; Jessi Alexander. She started talking about a woman named Connie Harrington who, years ago, was driving home on Memorial Day and listening to NPR. A father was being interviewed about his son whose life was lost in Afghanistan. The father was asked how he’d been coping with the loss of his son and he talked about how he drives his son’s truck to feel his presence again. Connie started sticking post it notes with these details all over her car along with some ideas, and when she got back to Nashville her and Jessi got together to develop the song further. The one thing they felt they were missing was a male voice, which was when Lee Brice recorded, “I Drive Your Truck.”
I used to listen to this song and not feel anything, and then I heard the story behind it and now I can’t listen to it without crying. That’s why I love music. Every song has a story, and I challenge anyone who says that this is just another song about a truck to be a little less ignorant and to do a little more research. So much is said in such few words:
My point in sharing this story is that I found a new appreciation for music when I started learning the stories behind songs I used to take for granted. I don’t just like songs for the beat or melody anymore, and just when I thought I couldn’t appreciate music anymore I was proven wrong. This was just one story too. I learned a lot that night about some of my favorite songs.
There’s something very powerful about communicating so much in such few words, but that’s what music is all about. Music heals, it’s relatable, and it brings people together. I can’t think of a more rewarding industry for myself to be part of, and I can’t wait to learn more about where songs originate from.