Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert wrote this song at the Gilbert's house in Georgia; the song first appeared on Ford's 2008 debut album Ride Through the Country, and Gilbert included it on his 2010 LP Halfway to Heaven. It was the first tune that the country artists wrote together.
The song became a huge hit for Jason Aldean when he included it on his 2010 set My Kinda Party (Gilbert also wrote that album's title track). Released as a single in 2011, it was a #1 country hit and went to #7 on the Hot 100, Aldean's first Top 10 on that tally.
The song was inspired by different places and events in the lives of the two songwriters, Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert. For instance, "Potts Farm," is a place that Gilbert hung out when growing up.
Ford and Gilbert were simply writing about their own lives, and were surprised when the song found such a large audience. "We didn't know when we were writing it that anybody would give a s--t about dirt roads," Ford said in our interview.
Aldean commented during an interview with Billboard magazine: "It's different, no doubt. But it still talks about that same sort of rural thing as [Aldean's 2006 single] 'Amarillo Sky.' It just does it in a different way." ( laughs). "Being from Georgia, I thought I'd be pretty bad at talking fast. But apparently I'm pretty good at it."
Producer Michael Knox recalled to Billboard magazine: "In the studio I was joking with him, 'You ain't gonna get this.' But those verses are takes two and three, and the only reason for that is because it took me two takes to get the sound right."
This song is about the impromptu dirt road gatherings that Ford and Gilbert grew up with. A keystone of life in the south, the song talks about what goes on at these parties, which involve trucks, beer, and most importantly, friends.
A performance of this song by Aldean with rapper Ludacris at the 2011 CMT Awards was so successful, the performers released on iTunes a studio version of their remix.
The publicity blurb for this southern rap-inclined tune "suggests Aldean has listened to a little Snoop Dogg in his time." An amused Jason Aldean responded to The Boot: "I don't know why all these nasty rumors about rap songs keep coming up. It's not a rap song. I never say never but I will say that I'm a country singer. I am definitely not a rapper. So if I was to do anything like that, it's not going to be Kanye West-style or anything."
There was no specific dirt road that Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert had in mind when they wrote this song. In our interview with Ford, he said: "Those dirt roads are everywhere, and people all over the world seem to find them."
This song was written in about 30 minutes. It came together very quickly when Ford and Gilbert were planning an appointment to write with another songwriter friend of theirs, Mike Dekle. Gilbert played the melody for Ford, and the pair quickly hashed out the song.
This was named by TouchTunes, the largest in-venue interactive entertainment network in North America, as the most-played song on jukeboxes in both 2011 and 2012. "Knowing that the real people across America are choosing my music while they're out having fun at the kind of hangouts where I got my start is a great thing," said Aldean (Source of quote: Wall Street Journal).
The line, "swerving like I'm George Jones" is a reference to the legendary country singer and his even more legendary drinking habit. Jones was once videotaped getting arrested for a DUI, and famously drove a lawn mower to a liquor store eight miles away after his wife hid the keys to their vehicles.