Everyone has a hillbilly bone inside them, according to Blake Shelton in this song. It might take the sound of a fiddle or fine-looking country queen to bring it out, but it's there. It's a rather welcoming song, inviting everyone - even New Yorkers - to join in the fun.
This song of rural pride is the title track and first single from Blake Shelton's second extended play. The track was co-written by Luke Laird, whose credits include Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home
" and "So Small
." The other co-writer was Craig Wiseman whose "Live Like You Were Dying
," which he penned for Tim McGraw, earned him the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Country Song.
The song features guest vocals from Trace Adkins. When asked by Yahoo Music why the You're Gonna Miss This
singer was chosen to duet with him on this cut, Shelton noted, "Mostly just because it sounds like a Trace Adkins song. When I heard it, I thought, why didn't Trace get his hands on it first?" He added, "I feel like he's really a friend. And when all this is over, we'll still be friends."
A "Hillbilly" is a nickname, which originated in the early 20th century for an inhabitant of a remote or rural region of the United States and in particular of the Appalachian Mountains of the southeast. The basic meaning of the name is a "billy" or person who comes from the hills.
The music video, which stars Adkins and Shelton, was filmed at the Stockyard Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee. Roman White was the director.
Shelton admitted to The Boot
that he was somewhat inebriated during the filming of the song's promo. He said: "I was absolutely drunk by the end of the video! There's a couple of shots there where I'm drinking straight out of the bottle of wine, and it's not a prop! It's truly wine. And I haven't drank wine since that day."
Shelton and his record label, Warner Music Nashville, have called Hillbilly Bone a 'SIX PAK,' as it only has half a dozen tracks. The country singer explained to The Boot why he decided to release a record with so few songs: "Nashville has been looking for ways to try to get people back into the stores and buy albums again. You hear a song on the radio these days, and you just pull out your phone and buy it off the internet right then, and you forget about it. We're just looking for ways to remind people that we still make albums, and there's still cool music that you may not hear on the radio. So we decided to do a six-song album, and it's really cheap! It's like five dollars and change."
He added: "The thing about it that is appealing to me is that I can put out more music by doing it this way, rather than by putting out a 10 or 12 song CD that we put out every two years. With a SIX PAK, we can put three of them out a year if we want to. I don't know what's going to happen, but we've got to try something. And for the most part, people will still hop on the internet and download 'Hillbilly Bone,' and that'll be what they get. And we all know that, but we're just trying to remind them that there is other music that we make."
According to Frankie Ballard, he could have cut this song first. The singer told Taste of Country
it was his to record, and he knew it was going to be a big hit. "But I couldn't do it because it's just not me," he explained. "It's just not me."
Blake Shelton was asked during a 2017 People interview what song he'd be more than happy to never sing again. He replied:
"I'm gonna say 'Hillbilly Bone' because it's uncomfortable sometimes with kids at the concert. You're singing and you're looking at a kid and you start talking about 'Hillbilly Bone'... it's uncomfortable."
In an interview with Wendy Geller of Yahoo Music, Shelton said this is his then-girlfriend Miranda Lambert's favorite track: He explained: "Miranda loves 'Hillbilly Bone. It's ultimate redneck anthem--no matter who you are where you live, there's something about you that's country."
For Wiseman, this tune is a prime example of flexing creative muscles and striving to make weird things work. He came up with the urban rap loops on Pro Tools first, then had to figure out how to make them work in a country tune. "So the idea was that, we have something this urban, we should throw something really hardcore country against it to try and get it to balance out," he told Jake Brown, author of Nashville Songwriter, "and that's where saying 'Hillbilly bone-ba-bone-ba-bone-bone' in the chorus came from - to counterbalance - so, how can we get away with using this loop and this weirdness?"
The veteran songwriter says the same approach works for mundane ideas. "If you get something really boring, then do something really freakin' weird to make it interesting," he advised. "Just try to push a little bit, because it's really easy to be cliché and do that over and over."