Diamond Rings and Old Barstools

Album: Sundown Heaven Town (2014)
Charted: 55

Songfacts®:

  • Tim McGraw trades vocals with his first cousin Catherine Dunn on this country ballad about love on the rocks. "I knew I wanted her to sing on it; her voice would fit perfectly," McGraw said of Dunn to Rolling Stone Country. "She went in and in 10 minutes, knocked it out."
  • The song was written by Barry Dean and Luke Laird, who also co-penned Little Big Town's hit tune "Pontoon." Tim McGraw commented to Billboard magazine: "It's a classic great country song. When you come across those kind of songs, and I've had a few of them throughout my career, like 'Better Than I Used to Be,' these songs kind of allow you to dig in, and they have a lIttle bit of country nostalgia, but also a modern edge. When I run across a song like that, I can't wait to get into the studio and record it."
  • This tale of star-crossed love started off with Barry Dean, Luke Laird and Jonathan Singleton grinding to a halt after spending the entire morning working on another, more commercial song. Frustrated, Laird started jamming out some different musical ideas to lighten the mood. "Luke just starts playing guitar, and he goes, 'Diamond rings and old barstools,'" Dean recalled to Taste of Country. "It was not a title he had written down, it was something that was just floating in the air."

    The trio started working on the new idea, which rapidly developed into a song. "We had the first verse and the chorus in about 10 minutes," said Dean. "By then, Jon was just locked in - he kinda had that second verse in his heart. It just happened. It was like it just wanted to happen, just that moment. It was like we had been wanting to write it forever. Within 40 minutes, we had written it and done the work tape."
  • Barry Dean describes this as a "country song, with country rules." This means very straightforward lyrics - something that is not unique to old-school country. "We were talking about Motown songs - Holland-Dozier-Holland songs," Dean told Songfacts. "I've got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May. Basically, every line punching the thought."
  • George Strait recorded a demo of this song and put it on hold, meaning nobody else could record it. When it became clear he wasn't going to use the song, it was pitched to McGraw, who took it.

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