Cold Shoulder

Album: Ropin' The Wind (1991)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Garth Brooks got the idea for this classic country cut about a lonely trucker while he was driving home for Christmas and spotted a semi-tractor trailer rig parked on the shoulder of the road. "I knew that's how this guy's going to spend Christmas Eve before going to work all day Christmas Day, and I thought, Man, what a bummer that is," he explained in his 2017 book The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years. "Because Christmas is everything to me, and so it just hit me that it's just a cold shoulder he's on. I started thinking, Wow, if we could take the listener from where they're thinking he's in this warm place, painting this nice, pleasing picture where everything's just great, and then hit them with the truth, that it's a harsh reality, hard work, work that takes you away from your family. I could hear those big, high harmonies."
  • Brooks wrote this with his frequent collaborators Kent Blazy ("If Tomorrow Never Comes") and Kim Williams ("New Way To Fly"). The trio also wrote "What Never Happened (Is What I'll Never Forget)," which was recorded by country singer David Grey, during the session.
  • Like many of Brooks' tunes, this features his future wife Trisha Yearwood on harmony. Yearwood recalled in The Anthology Part 1: "I remember singing the last chorus straight, and then Garth asked me to try the pedal the other two voices were doing. I think Garth is really good at not overusing those choice harmonies, so it makes you want to hear more of it and how special it is. You find yourself wanting to get to that last chorus." Incidentally, Brooks credited his producer, Allen Reynolds, for reserving the lick for the last chorus. "I would have used that lick on every chorus, but Allen has this thing called 'taste,'" he laughed.
  • This appears on Brooks' third studio album, Ropin' The Wind, which boasted the hit singles "What She's Doing Now," "Shameless," and "The River." With its chart-topping debut, it made Brooks the first country artist in Billboard history to debut at #1 in America. This was partly due to the newly instituted SoundScan technology that allowed album sales to be tracked digitally rather than manually, which produced more accurate results.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Boz Scaggs

Boz ScaggsSongwriter Interviews

The "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" singer makes a habit of playing with the best in the business.

Michael Sweet of Stryper

Michael Sweet of StryperSongwriter Interviews

Find out how God and glam metal go together from the Stryper frontman.

Reverend Horton Heat

Reverend Horton HeatSongwriter Interviews

The Reverend rants on psychobilly and the egghead academics he bashes in one of his more popular songs.

Annie Haslam of Renaissance

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceSongwriter Interviews

The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.

Supertramp founder Roger Hodgson

Supertramp founder Roger HodgsonSongwriter Interviews

Roger tells the stories behind some of his biggest hits, including "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home" and "The Logical Song."

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal Tap

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal TapSong Writing

Based on criteria like girlfriend tension, stage mishaps and drummer turnover, these are the 10 bands most like Spinal Tap.