Tracy Byrd’s ‘I’m From the Country’: Songwriter Marty Brown Shares the Story Behind the Song

by Jennifer Shea

Country musician Tracy Byrd got the title track for his fifth studio album from songwriter Marty Brown, along with Stan Webb and Richard Young. The song was released in February 1998. It went on to hit No. 3 on the Hot Country Songs chart. 

Further, the song never would have come about if it weren’t for a barb in Rolling Stone magazine, the Tennessean reports.

Marty Brown Gets a Gift from God

“That song was a gift from God for me,” Brown told the Tennessean in 2019. “Back when I was making records in the ’90s, I was so excited that I made the Rolling Stone magazine. They did a review of my first album, High and Dry.”

“So I bought about 25 copies, and I took ’em to mama’s house,” he explained. “And I remember I gave ’em all out, and we turned to the page, and there I was in that red shirt, 24 years old, lookin’ sharp. So I read the review that they did on me, and glowing reports, you know, it had five stars rating on it. But at the end of the article, it said that ‘he’s too country for country.’” 

“And I told my mama, I said, ‘What’s wrong with that? What is that?’” Brown wondered. “I said, ‘I’m from the country and I like it that way, mama.’ So that’s how that song came out.” 

A Collaborative Process

With the idea for the song in hand, Brown called up Richard Young, who was in the tub at the time. He told Brown to come on over, and so did Stan Webb, and the three of them had a grand old time working on the song.

“We hem and hawed through it,” Brown said. “It was just three guys having fun.”

Brown explained that he’s been told he’s “too country” all his life. When he was trying to get radio play, he heard it. But he had the last laugh on that score, because his song eventually topped the charts.

He believes that Rolling Stone review was “God’s way of putting it in my brain.” And the song eventually changed his life, he said.

Brown was living in Kentucky at the time he wrote the song. He carried it around with him for four years, but finally he found he needed some money. So he brought it to producer Tony Brown. And the producer decided to make “I’m From the Country” the title track of Byrd’s record, which became wildly successful.

“That song has done everything for me,” Brown said.

Watch the interview here: