I Wish I Still Smoked Cigarettes

Album: Peace, Love, and Country Music (2013)
  • songfacts ®
  • This track was written by the Nashville tunesmiths Lori McKenna, Barry Dean and Luke Laird. Dunn and Laird go back a ways. "Luke used to date my daughter," he told Billboard magazine. "When he first moved to town, he was young and shy, and going to Belmont. He never really mentioned that he had that big of an interest in songs. He would pick up a guitar and maybe play two or three chords, but he never pushed it around me."

    "The next thing I knew a few years after they broke up, I see his name on Carrie Underwood's records, and he's all over the place," Dunn continued. "I'm so proud of him. He's one of the best guys that you could ever be in a room with, and the song paints such a vivid picture. It is so well-written."
  • The title is something Luke Laird said when he and his co-writers were working at Universal Music Publishing and tasked with writing a song for a scene in the movie. It was not going well, and Laird proclaimed, "I Wish I Still Smoked Cigarettes." They didn't write the song, but a few months later they were working on another song that needed a payoff, so they used Laird's line.
  • The song is about the nostalgia of youth, when the possibilities seem endless and you feel invincible. At the end of the song, a heartbreak is revealed as Dunn sings:

    Wherever you are tonight
    You were better than I deserved
    Wish I still smoked cigarettes
    So I had something to let go up in smoke

    "In the end, the reason a person would say that is to have something they could let go of," the song's co-writer Barry Dean told Songfacts. "Something they could give up and make it go away."
  • Tim McGraw took the first crack at recording this song, but decided not to release it. Jack Ingram also made a recording, but it was Dunn who finally put the song out.
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