Hard Way To Make An Easy Living

Album: Drinks After Work (2013)

Songfacts®:

  • Keith penned this tribute to farmers with his long term collaborator Bobby Pinson. He recalled: "We wrote that up in a cabin starting with some minor chords. It was one of those deals where we could just go down the neck of the guitar trying to find what chord goes next. You wind up back at one again and go, how'd we get back here? Then you start trying to write to it."

    "I've got a friend who has about 10,000 acres and everybody thinks he's really well off," Keith continued. "I told Bobby that people think because this guy does a million dollars' worth of ranching business and a million dollars' worth of cattle business every year that he's sitting good. But it's a hard way to make an easy living. He's got lots of bills, lots of equipment, lots of labor, and puts in lots of time. When you think about running cattle and farming 10,000 acres - you may take in million, but probably 80% of that goes right back in. And then you still have to live, do upkeep for the ranch - you're always fencing, fetching cows, trucking in equipment and working. I usually write from the hub out, but this started with the story then we worked through a chorus. Tom T. Hall style - start at the front and tell the story."
  • As a successful country star, who has had to work hard for his wealth, Keith may be also delivering a message about where he came from. When asked on 101.5 the Eagle's Jon & Amanda Show whether he's become too rich to be truly country, he replied: "They just see me now. They didn't see where you came from; what your roots were like," he says. "If you've been poor before… no matter how much money you get, you're still not comfortable with it. You never forget what it felt like to be without."

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