In his book The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years
, Brooks explained how the song came together. "It gets written, and then when we play it, there's kind of a sixteenth note thing on the high hat and a finger roll that runs through it because banjo was the first thing I ever learned how to play," he recalled. "So that finger roll's on the front, a little fiddle solo to get that lonesome kind of 'Amarillo By Morning
' feel of a cowboy in his truck with the sun coming up, driving all night because he's got a rodeo that day."
But Brooks had to muster the courage to tell the rhythm section, a group of seasoned players from Muscle Shoals and Memphis, they weren't capturing the cowboy feel of an Oklahoma honky-tonk that he envisioned. To his relief, they caught on quickly and the Garth Brooks sound was born. He said: "Milton [Sledge, drummer] hears me, starts this ticky-ticky on the high hat and [Mark] Casstevens, who's the greatest finger roll player because he does ragtime, starts this wonderful thing. I'm there screaming at the top of my lungs, everybody has their headphones on. 'That's it, that's it!'"