“You can never have enough uptempo songs,” says country star Chris Lane. Coming off of four mid-tempo singles—including his two week No.1 “Big, Big Plans,” which amassed over 190 million streams after he used it in a viral proposal to his now wife and soon-to-be mother of his first child, Lauren Bushnell—his brand new track, “Fill Them Boots,” feels like the right step forward.
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Infused with a feel-good twang, “Fill Them Boots,” suggests that sometimes nice guys do finish first. Lane penned the track on the bus one night after a show in Grand Rapids, Michigan from the Big, Big Plans Tour with Josh Miller, Ernest Keith Smith, and Mark Trussell. He threw out a title he had saved in his phone notes, and it stuck.
The storyline, built around a homespun pickup line, builds a bold foundation for this comeback track. As Lane’s first radio single in nearly two years, “Fill Them Boots,” lands as anthemic re-entrance to the more promising summer that lies ahead. Girl, it’s time to move on / Scoot on over/ You lookin like a you could use a / Brand new shoulder, he sings suggestively.
Completed on the bus, Lane had a gut feeling this one would resonate. His intuition was confirmed when he got the demo back. “I just kept listening and felt more sure each time,” says Lane. “If I haven’t gotten tired of it yet, then it has stood the test of time.”
Lane credits ACM Producer of the Year nominee Joey Moi for breathing a whole new life into the song when they brought it into the studio. The three co-writers on “Fill Them Boots” made for a weapon of a dynamic. Lane describes Trussell as a “triple threat—he can sing, and do melody well, but also has a producer’s mindset, so he understands what sounds like a hit. Ernest, who helped craft “Big, Big Plans” used to be a hip-hop artist. Lane says the writer, who works “incredibly fast,” employs his freestyle skills in the writers’ room to deliver lyric content. “I just hand him the mic, and he’ll go off, and I can just start to pull nuggets from what he’s putting out there,” he says. “That’s how we started “Big, Big Plans.”
He says Miller, who co-wrote “Take Back Home Girl,” knows how to “channel” him as a writer. “If Josh were an artist, I think we’d be the same,” says Lane. He laughs, adding, “I’m glad he’s not because then I’d be in trouble.”
Though this track pre-dates the pandemic, Lane sees his songwriting practice during this year’s downtime as a silver lining. The artist says he has carved out time to write nearly every day he’s been home. “It’s nice to have the brainpower to do so when you’re not so exhausted coming off the road. I’m constantly writing things in my phone—good or not—but doing something every day, getting that practice in makes a difference.” He compares his writing craft to a muscle, “if you never work it out, you won’t be strong.”
After months of ritualistic practice, Lane feels more confident than ever in his skills as a songwriter. For much of his early career, buried beneath burdensome tour schedules and radio shows, he felt the songcraft was better left in the hands of other experts. Now, he understands the strength in “showing up,” and it’s put him on a different path within his artistry.
“If my career died out tomorrow, I would feel confident enough that I could keep writing,” he says. “I’ve never felt that way before. I had it in there,” Lane assures, “I just had to find it.”
His roll out plan is a step away from the traditional. Lane will continue to share single-after-single as he writes what he feels are great songs. Attention spans are short— which he attributes to social media—and people are always looking for the “next thing.” He hopes this new release cycle combats this issue.
“Hopefully, it’s more digestible to fans. For me, I love the flexibility to share my music with you as it comes,” he says. “I’m really proud of what I’m about to put out there.”
Listen to Chris Lane’s new single, “Fill Them Boots,” below. Keep up with the artist and upcoming announcements, here.
Photo by Josh Shearer