Thomas Rhett is revealing the inspiration behind his hit single “What’s Your Country Song,” which debuted earlier this month. The song celebrates the rich history of the genre with multiple references to past hits.
The country singer said he started writing the song while in a hotel room in Dallas, Texas. He teamed with fellow songwriters and his father Rhett Akins to write the song over a weekend.
“We were just talking about ideas for songs, and I just mentioned an idea of ‘What’s your country?’ or ‘Where’s your country?’ or something like that,” Rhett told The Boot. “They were asking me where that inspiration came from. And I just noticed that — whether I was in Los Angeles or New York, or Seattle or Nashville, or anywhere in between. I just kinda noticed that everybody had some country in them, you know?”
Rhett believed everyone has a little country in them, even if they live in the city. There’s probably a reason why Central Park is so beloved in New York City. He said people love the outdoors and going camping and hiking. Especially during the pandemic, more people than ever are going camping for the first time.
For the song, Rhett decided to make it a homage to country music itself and his predecessors and peers. Rhett accomplished this by including song titles in the lyrics to his song. The first song he included was by his father “That Ain’t My Truck.”
“So, we were just talking about, ‘How can we write this song?'” Rhett said. “We decided to dive in. And make the whole song old country song lyrics that tie into a story. And it was really interesting how we started to progress the song. I actually threw one of my dad’s song titles in the second verse, ‘That Ain’t My Truck.’ And so we picked a lot of songs that I felt like really shaped me as an artist and put those into the verses.”
Despite the references, Rhett hopes the lyrics don’t distract from the song but instead creates a rich tapestry for listeners to discover later.
“Hopefully, when the listener is listening, they don’t hear the song titles,” Rhett said. “But it sounds more like a story. The more they listen to the song, I hope they can kinda go through there. And be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I love that song, I love that song.'”