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Here's how Starbucks coffee, Kenny Chesney, a cellphone and a boat ride turned into a multiweek No. 1 smash for Blake Shelton.
"I met Rory at Starbucks in Bellevue [near Nashville] a couple of years ago," remembers Paul Overstreet of the day he and his songwriting bud Rory Lee Feek got together. "We were drinking coffee and talking about the 'beach album' Kenny Chesney was doing. [That album became Kenny's just-released As You Are.] So we got to talking about beach stuff and the phrase 'some beach' rolled out from one of us. And we started laughing."
Some Beach' reminded us of when we were kids and we sort of sounded like we said a swear word but we really didn't," explains Rory, who's written songs for Clay Walker, Reba McEntire, Waylon Jennings, Terri Clark, John Michael Montgomery and others. "It was that kind of harmless fun.
we were tossing out the opening lines Driving down the interstate/Running thirty minutes late and He flipped me the bird/And then he was gone. We quickly had the first verse and half the chorus, and to make sure we didn't forget the lyrics or melody Paul called my cellphone on his cellphone and sang what we had into the phone."
Deciding to finish the beach song near water, Paul and Rory went out to nearby Percy Priest Lake and hopped in Paul's Celebrity runabout boat. They motored to the middle of the lake and drifted, while plunking around on a guitar.
"The whole toothache/dentist thing in the last verse came from Paul's real life," explains Rory. Paul, whose dozens of hits include Kenny Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" and Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen," nods. "I'd gone through the hassle of a dentist working on my wisdom teeth and not getting the gums numb. That's how we got the lines But he stuck that needle down deep in my gum/And he started drilling before I was numb.
"We finished the song out in the boat," notes Rory. "It was a good day."
In 2003, the song made it's way to Blake's producer, Bobby Braddock, who knows what a hit tune sounds like since he's a best-selling songwriter himself. Then Blake heard it and five months later, cut it.
Blake admits he was hooked by the "flippin' the bird" interstate incident.
"That happens to all of us," he declares, "every single time we get in our car. I can't remember a time I haven't thought, 'Aw! You idiot!' You know? Usually five or six times a day when you're drivin'. And the reality of it is, somebody's sayin' that to you every day, too. You just don't know it.
"So," Blake laughs, "everybody is the guilty person, but it just doesn't seem that way when it's you!"
- ALANNA HORNER