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"I'm Already There"

Songwriter Gary Baker thinks back to a summer day in 1999, when co-writing a smash single nearly lost out to whacking a golf ball.

He had hit the links that morning, and was running late to meet writing partner Frank Myers and Lonestar lead vocalist Richie McDonald. They were beginning another song when Gary arrived. "We moved on to 'I'm Already There,' a song that Richie had started on his own," recalls Gary. "He had the title, the first verse and most of the chorus. He probably could have finished it by himself, but I think Frank and I put the right touches on it."

Richie had the makings of a touching ballad, inspired by a phone conversation with his 2-year-old son, Rhett. "We were on the West Coast, and he said in his little voice, 'Daddy, when will you be home?' It just broke my heart. I thought, physically, I'm not home yet, but mentally, I'm already there."

Frank remembers Richie playing the chorus on the piano the day they were writing. "I loved it right away," he says. "I could definitely relate to that sentiment."

Gary also related, as it hit so achingly close to home. "I immediately thought of my son, Cole," says Gary wistfully. "That's the first thing he always says to me when I have to go on the road: 'When are you coming home?' This is one song that was really written from the heart."

Frank and Gary, who have teamed up on John Michael Montgomery's "I Swear" and other hits, helped Richie flesh out the tune. "The main thing I said," laughs Frank, "was whatever we do, don't kill the guy off. Let's get him back on the phone with his wife."

Gary chimes in, "We re-wrote the second chorus to make it from the wife's point of view. I think we broadened it by bringing the spouse into the picture."

The result was picture perfect, and "I'm Already There" stayed at No. 1 for an incredible six weeks. "It touched people's lives," says Frank. "Anybody could make that song their own."

Adds Gary, "The song means a great deal to my family, so it's my favorite of all time. I'm just glad that Richie didn't start that morning with it - look what I might have missed!"

- Bob Paxman


"I'm Already There"
Written by Richie McDonald,
Gary Baker & Frank Myers
Performed by Lonestar

He called her on the road
From a lonely cold motel room
Just to hear her say "I love you" one more time
But when he heard the sound
Of the kids laughing in the background
He had to wipe away a tear from his eye
A little voice came on the phone
Said, "Daddy, when you comin' home?"
He said the first thing that came to his mind

I'm already there
Take a look around
I'm the sunshine in your hair
I'm the shadow on the ground
I'm the whisper in the wind
I'm your imaginary friend
And I know I'm in your prayers

Oh I'm already there
She got back on the phone
Said I really miss you, darlin'
Don't worry about the kids, they'll be all right
Wish I was in your arms lyin' right there beside you
But I know that I'll be in your dreams tonight
And I'll gently kiss your lips
And touch you with my fingertips
So turn out the light and close your eyes

I'm already there
Don't make a sound
I'm the beating of your heart
I'm the moonlight shining down
And I'll be there 'til the end
Can you feel the love that we share
Oh I'm already there
We may be a thousand miles apart
But I'll be with you wherever you are

I'm already there
Take a look around
I'm the sunshine in your hair
I'm a shadow on the ground
I'm the whisper in the wind
And I'll be there 'til the end
Can you feel the love that we share?
Oh I'm already there
Oh I'm already there

©1999 Sony/ATV Songs LLC, Zomba Enterprises Inc., Swear By It Music and Josh/Nick Music. All rights o/b/o Sony/ATV Songs administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, 8 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203. All rights o/b/o Swear By It Music and Josh/Nick Music administered by Zomba Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.