New Way To Fly

Album: No Fences (1990)
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Songfacts®:

  • Life inevitably brings painful circumstances but, according to Brooks, we have to re-adjust and find "a new way to fly." Brooks wrote the country ballad with Kim Williams and included it on his second album, No Fences. Williams got the idea from seeing birds perched atop high wires on the interstate. When he brought the idea to Brooks, he thought it sounded like a Merle Haggard tune and they finished writing it with him in mind. "On the record I'm doing my best Merle Haggard impersonation that I can on that vocal," Brooks explained in his 2017 book, The Anthology Part 1: The First Five Years.
  • Williams dealt with his own share of tragedy when he was severely burned in an explosion at a glass plant and endured hundreds of painful surgeries and related complications. That didn't stop him from pursuing a fruitful songwriting career, penning Brooks' "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up)" and Randy Travis' "Three Wooden Crosses," among other hits. In 2012, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame. He died in 2016 at age 68.
  • This didn't make the cut for Brooks' self-titled debut because there were already several ballads on the track list, including "The Dance" and "If Tomorrow Never Comes," but he promised Williams he'd put it on his next album.
  • This features harmony vocals from Trisha Yearwood, a then-unknown singer who also sang on "Wild Horses" and "Victim Of The Game" (she released her smash debut single, "She's In Love With the Boy," the following year). Yearwood recalled: "I just remember being blown away by the song, immediately. I couldn't wait to sing on it, I couldn't wait to put that Bonnie Owens high harmony on it like she did on all those Haggard records." Brooks and Yearwood were friends and frequent music partners for several years before they married in 2005.
  • This is the second track on the album, following the #1 Country hit "The Thunder Rolls." Brooks' producer, Allen Reynolds, said his method of sequencing was to write the titles on 10 little pieces of paper and experiment with different arrangements until it felt right.
  • No Fences peaked at #3 on the US albums chart (#1 Country). His subsequent album, Ropin' The Wind debuted at #1, making him the first country artist in Billboard history to do so.

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