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."

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