The Driver

Album: The Driver (2015)
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Songfacts®:

  • Charles Kelley's debut single was penned by the Lady A frontman with Abe Stoklasa and Eric Paslay. The latter also appears on the ballad along with Kelley and Dierks Bentley.
  • The track features the singers taking on different personas: the dreamer, the believer, the singer and, of course, the driver. "The perspective seemed like a Crosby, Stills and Nash story song," Kelley said. "We went in the studio to record it with no agenda. I thought, maybe it'll be the start of the next Lady Antebellum record, maybe we'll scrap it, maybe I'll pitch the song to other singers."
  • The song finds Kelley singing in a lower and dirtier manner than we normally hear him. It is actually a range he's more comfortable with. Kelley told Taste of Country that both he and Hillary Scott tend to sacrifice the best part of their voices for the good of Lady A. "I feel like my voice has gotten a little higher and higher and prettier as the years have gone on and as the sound has become a little more mainstream," he said.
  • The song is a glimpse into the touring life and pays tribute to some of the unsung heroes. "Being on the road, I just thought it would be awesome to write a song for everybody behind the scenes - all the crew and stuff - and the trick then was, how do you make it relatable to the audience?" Kelley told Billboard magazine. "You don't want it so inside that it's hard for the fans to relate to the song."
  • Kelley threw out the opening lines - "I'm the driver. Bringing this circus to town. First one in and the last rolling out" - during a songwriting session at his Nashville home in late 2014. "They're equally important as anybody else that you see on the stage," said Stoklasa. "We thought the driver best summed that up, because you never see him and he's always working when everyone's sleeping."
  • Charles Kelley acknowledges the irony of hooking up with Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay for his first single away from Lady Antebellum. "It's funny: I put out a single with two other guys, and they're like, 'He's taking a break from a trio, and he's putting out a song with a trio,'" Kelley quipped to The Boot. "It's some different styles. The key for me was just really wanting to get back to songs that I always just loved and a style that I loved. 'The Driver' kind of set the tone for what I wanted to say, and lyrically it especially did. It was something different."
  • Dierks Bentley said he was "truly honored" to be asked to take part on the song. "It's kind of like a 'Turn The Page,'" he said. "It kind of sums up the life of a road musician, but also gets the fans in there and the bus drivers in there, obviously the singers, and it just kind of sums up that life so well that obviously we know and our fans know too. I was truly honored that they asked me to be the third wheel on the song."

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