Death Row

Album: Where We Started (2022)
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Songfacts®:

  • Back in Christmas 2021, Thomas Rhett, Russell Dickerson and Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard were asked to play music for about 45 inmates on death row in a Tennessee men's prison. What started as a terrifying experience turned into one they'll never forget. Rhett's heart was rocked, and he felt the need to get the powerful experience off his chest by writing about it. "The next week I went in to write with Ashley Gorley and Zac Crowell and said, 'I've got a really strange title for y'all and it's called 'Death Row.'" He said in a Zoom media call. "We literally just explained our experience at the prison in a song. It just felt like, I don't know, something that needed to be said."
  • Russell Dickerson and Tyler Hubbard also lend their voices to "Death Row." Rhett starts off the song by admitting he was terrified until "we talked hunting, we talked fishing, like I do with boys back home."

    Hubbard then recalls his conversation with a long-term inmate named Johnny. After talking to the prisoner for a while, it hit him that Johnny is a human being like everybody else. He's just paying the price for going wrong 30 years earlier

    Dickerson concludes the song by remembering one prisoner who suddenly started singing "Amazing Grace."

    "We started playin' songs and it felt like I was just playing songs to people, that I knew," Rhett shared to Audacy's Katie Neal. "One guy got up and sang the most incredible version of 'Amazing Grace' you've ever heard. It was a strange spiritual experience... it put life into such a weird perspective and it kinda just reminded me of, I don't know, just the fragility of life."
  • Rhett toured with Florida Georgia Line in 2015 and dueted with Hubbard on "Thank You Lord" as part of Chris Tomlin's 2020 collaborative album Chris Tomlin & Friends. Dickerson opened for Rhett's tour in 2019.

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