The Sugarland duo has never formally met Steve Earle, but Kristian Bush has crossed paths with him, which led to this song. In our 2013 interview with Kristian
, he explained that in 1995, he was working on an album with his group Billy Pilgrim at Treasure Isle Recorders in Nashville. As luck would have it, so was Earle. "He had gotten out of jail and he came into Nashville to make a record, and I was the guy making a record the day before," said Bush. "I met him in the hallway, and all the players stayed in the room. He made an album called I Feel Alright
, and I was making a Billy Pilgrim album called Bloom
. All the players are literally the same on both records, and so is the producer [Richard Dodd]. He was just the next guy slated in.
It always felt like the Steve Earle awesome version of a record and then the Billy Pilgrim version of that time in the world. So that's all I really knew of Steven. That's how I met him. I'd heard Guitar Town
before, and I'd heard Copperhead Road
, but I hadn't really associated it with anything other than, 'Oh, that's kind of cool.' And when he re-launched, I was interested in him because he was using the same players and the same producer. And I was like, 'Oh, man, when that record comes out, I've got to remember to write that guy's name down so I can listen to his record.' Because how weird is it that you're using the same band the same producer, different songs. But when do you ever get that litmus test?"