Among its many other attractions, “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock,” airing Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 8/7c on ABC, is a cavalcade of amazing songs. But there’s more to a song than how it sounds, as you’ll see from this series of interviews with the writers who created the latest, hottest hits by today’s Country superstars.
Describe the birth of this tune.
DiPiero This is one of those songs that just sprang to life pretty much from the moment the title was mentioned. It was a title that Tom had.
Douglas Bob and I like to read. I particularly love some of the great Southern writers, like William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty, who seem to write with a unique and particular voice. I just jotted that down and mentioned it to Bob, and we were off to the races.
DiPiero I had my guitar in my hand and I was playing some changes to this rhythm going on in my head. And we just started giving shout-outs to the South – the writers and musicians, the major people from the recent South and even the past. It came together quickly, the chorus especially. We really worked on the verses, having the right people in the right order. But with the chorus, it was like taking dictation.
Douglas I went out to look something up on the computer because we were trying to list all these iconic Southern images, and when I came back Bob had formulated the structure of the song. I think we wrote it in a day and demoed it that afternoon. It was a joyful collaboration.
DiPiero The thing I found fun was to turn everything into a verb: “Hank Williams sang it. Number 3 rode it. Chuck Berry twanged it. Will Faulkner wrote it.” There are tons of list songs out there, but this song just started coming out that way and we followed it.
Douglas Bob came up with “Appalachicola.” I wouldn’t have thought of that word in a million years. That was really brilliant.
DiPiero That’s a place in Florida that I love – and I always wanted to use that word in a song [laughs]. It’s what I call a juicy word. It just laid in there perfectly. The whole thing with the Allman Brothers T-shirt and the gold cross – I can see that guy in my mind. And Tom really refined the verse melody. The melody for the chorus was pretty much there. It was one of those songwriting days you hope for. If I get a couple of those a year, I feel blessed.