For Billy Montana this song is especially personal, because it represents the careful navigation of the early years of his marriage while hugging the edge financially. "People ask you how long does it take you to write a song," explains Billy. "And sometimes I can knock one out with somebody in an hour and a half or two, and then sometimes it takes a long time. And I always say this song took over a year to write. And the reason for that was because Ilya Toshinsky and I had music, and I was in love with the music, and didn't want to squander it on an ordinary title. So I was really trying to find something extraordinary to say. And it wasn't like I worked on it every day for a year, believe me. I mean, you're writing songs all in between that. But every once in a while you go back and pull music out, or if you were walking around you were thinking, Well, man, what is it? What is this supposed to be? And so I finally got this – and I don't know where it came from – just one of those titles that… I just got that concept for 'House of a thousand dreams,' but I still wasn't sure what it should represent. I just loved the way those words sounded together, and I thought it was appropriate for the music. So I took that idea to Jenai, and she and I had just had hit a pretty good lick with the Sara Evans hit 'Suds in the Bucket
,' and just writing the songs that were getting attention, getting activity. And so we decided to structure it as being like – using my family as an example – it's like back when I was a struggling songwriter delivering pizzas for Domino's, and driving a car where you could see the road through the floor, and that kind of thing. I was thinking I wasn't providing enough as the breadwinner. And that's what the first verse is about, the perspective of the man of the house who's discontent with his work and income level and all that. Thinks he's not doing enough. And then the second verse is from the perspective of the wife, and she's making the most of what they have. So she's kind of in-between. She'll cut corners where she needs to, and that kind of thing. And so that verse is her. And then the last verse is through the eyes of their child, who is absolutely in love with where they live, and all the material stuff means nothing to the child. And the only thing that matters is that his parents love each other and love him and his brother and sister. And so that's really the concept to that song, and that's why it's real personal to us."
Having a female co-writer, Jenai, put the woman's perspective into the song. Billy says, "It's interesting, because I don't usually remember a lot about the details of a writing session. We got in and I don't keep track of whose lines are whose, usually. But I do kind of remember her bringing to the table, there's a line in the second verse about the wife talking about the curtains. The line goes, 'So I'll find some yard sale curtains for the windows and sew some yellow trim along the seams. And I'll keep praying, hope I go on living in this house of a thousand dreams.' And she definitely was instrumental in that line about the curtains." (laughs)
"And really, going back even further, I was like the kid in the third verse, because the household that I grew up in, very similarly, I was oblivious to the fact that we didn't have as much in the way of material possessions and wealth. We just didn't have it, we always did without. But I never realized that. I didn't realize it until I look back and go, well, gee, we really were scrimping by there. If I play a writers show and I play that song, that seems to be the one that people come up after and go, 'Man, that was incredible.' Because I just think maybe a lot of people have experienced that same sort of thing."