Middle of America

Album: Small Town Dreams (2014)

Songfacts®:

  • Will Hoge pays tribute to the people and places that populate the US's flyover states on this rock-based anthem. He penned the song with Jessi Alexander (Lee Brice's "I Drive Your Truck") and Tommy Lee James (Tim McGraw's "She's My Kind Of Rain").
  • Hoge told Rolling Stone about the writing session that produced the song: "We were just trying to write a great song and as it went on I started getting more and more attached to it," he recalled. "There's always that moment of, 'Do I want to keep this song for myself because I think it's really great, or do I want to send it to Blake Shelton and make a whole bunch of money off of it? Maybe he'll want it.' It's a strange place to be, but I'm pragmatic enough to know that sometimes that's the right play."

    "The only other time that this has happened to me, when I played something for a producer and then everybody lined up behind it, was with 'Even If It Breaks Your Heart,'" Hoge added.
  • The song acts as Hoge's own experience of life in a small middle American town. "All of those lyrics reflected all of our upbringings," he said. "There's always somebody who's too drunk, and there's always the frat guy and the jock, and there's the guy that's staying home and the girl who's being broken up with. It's everywhere … We wanted to convey the idea that [life] is a little screwed up, and we all make mistakes, but it is what it is."
  • The song came to fruition as Hoge, Alexander and James began telling stories about growing up. "You want to try to find your place among your peers. You're trying to push the envelope just enough with your parents to not get in big trouble but also your folks are trying to teach you a lesson," he explained to Radio.com. "It's just the battle you have to fight to get through those little minutes of growing up, and trying to encapsulate that in a three-minute pop song with a catchy chorus is the best that we could do."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Peter Lord

Peter LordSongwriter Interviews

You may not recognize his name, but you will certainly recognize Peter Lord's songs. He wrote the bevy of hits from Paula Abdul's second album, Spellbound.

Concert Disasters

Concert DisastersFact or Fiction

Ozzy biting a dove? Alice Cooper causing mayhem with a chicken? Creed so bad they were sued? See if you can spot the real concert mishaps.

Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"

Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"They're Playing My Song

It wasn't her biggest hit as a songwriter (that would be "Bette Davis Eyes"), but "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" had a family connection for Jackie.

Mike Scott of The Waterboys

Mike Scott of The WaterboysSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Whole Of The Moon" and "Red Army Blues," and why rock music has "outlived its era of innovation."

Al Kooper

Al KooperSongwriter Interviews

Kooper produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, played with Dylan and the Stones, and formed BS&T.

Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe ShaverSongwriter Interviews

The outlaw country icon talks about the spiritual element of his songwriting and his Bob Dylan mention.