Behind the Song: “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice
Originally published in our March 11, 2013, issue featuring Luke Bryan on the cover. The article is published here in its entirety.
As songwriter Connie Harrington will gladly relate, it sometimes pays to listen to the radio. In her particular case, an episode on the Here And Now program on National Public Radio provided the scenario for Lee Brice’s current hit, “I Drive Your Truck,” which Connie wrote with her good friends Jessi Alexander and Jimmy Yeary.
“It was around Memorial Day  and I was driving home and they announced that up next would be some Memorial Day stories,” Connie begins. “A very sweet story came on about a couple in Massachusetts. They had lost one of their sons in Afghanistan, I believe, and they were asked how they coped with the loss. They said, ‘We drive his truck,’ and they went on to describe the stuff that was still in it. They would take the truck out on Sundays. The story really moved me.”
Connie believed that the story deserved to be put into song. “I write with Jessi Alexander quite a bit and we got together,” Connie says. “I told her that idea and she really liked it. The two made some headway, even coming up with the beginning line, 89 cents in the ashtray, along with some others.
“I don’t know where that number came from,” Connie says. “It was just a random thing that popped into our heads. It was important not to make it an even number because it showed that somebody spent time in that truck and knew exactly how much money was in that ashtray.”
The two ladies were pleased with their progress, but also felt that an important element was missing, mainly the male perspective. “We wanted to make sure to get it just right,” Connie continues, “and we finally decided that Jimmy Yeary would be the perfect co-writer for this.” Jimmy, who writes for the same publishing company as Connie, has a knack for penning tasteful, sensitive material, with such co-writes as “Why Wait” by Rascal Flatts and Martina McBride’s “I’m Gonna Love You Through It.”
“Jimmy is great with music and lyrics,” Connie notes. “Jessi and I had a few lines started but we really didn’t like the melody we had. Jimmy came in and just laid down a great melody. And I know for sure,” adds Connie with a laugh, “that he came up with the line, Half-empty bottle of Gatorade rolling on the floorboards. That’s something I would have never thought of.”
The three writers finished “I Drive Your Truck” in late June of 2011, not long after Connie heard the radio program.
“They made fun of me the whole time because I cried all through the session,” Connie says, laughing. “It got to where they would say a line and if I wasn’t crying, they’d go, ‘Nope, that’s not it.’ But it was a great job by everyone. People are really connecting to it.”