Greylan James’ single “Make the Best Memories” opens with a strong backbeat and melodic, reverb-laden guitar—the best combination for a late-night car ride to get lost in your thoughts, and for James, his memories.
James knew at five years old he would be a country star. His papaw gifted him a guitar and asked what he wanted to do in life. He said loud and proud he would be a star someday. Little did he know, a little taste of that would come sooner rather than later.
Shortly after receiving the gift, James met his hometown hero, Kenny Chesney, who told him to “stay in school and learn how to write songs.” The Knoxville, Tennessee native patiently obliged Chesney’s request.
Sparing no time, James moved to Nashville for his first major publishing deal when he was just 18 years old. Since 2018, he has gone on to write songs for some of country music’s more notable artists, such as Chris Young, Blake Shelton, and Chris Janson. In his lifetime, James has made many incredible memories – all that have helped his journey pay off. In 2020, he got a phone call from Chesney himself, who told him he was cutting Greylan’s song “Happy Does.”
“I write songs about the stories from my life and the stories I’ve seen others live. I just want anyone who’s listening to my music to be able to relate to them,” James tells American Songwriter.
It’s moments like these that James has reflected on to bring about his new single “Make the Best Memories.”
“The best songs start with the best idea in the notes app that day,” James says.
“Taking a title and trying to write it in the most unique, fresh, and relatable way possible. Being clever with a lyric, using wordplay that makes you go, ‘Ahhh I see what he did there,’ while also trying to make the listener think, ‘Gosh, this song feels like it’s about me.’ If I can accomplish those 2 things in a 3-minute song, I can hang my hat on that,” James adds.
“When we started writing this song, my co-writers and I talked about how the little things in life can leave the biggest marks,” James recalls.
“In the first verse, we talk about old trucks being the best trucks, old friends being the best friends, small towns being the best towns. Then the second verse is about how just another night with your girl or your dude can be a night you reminisce forever,” the Knoxville native explains. “We really spent time wanting to write a nostalgic song that can be like a personal time machine when you hear it.
“Memories are priceless, and the people you make them with are too,” says James. “I want this song to inspire people to go out and do something that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Listen to Greylan James’ new single “Make the Best Memories” below:
Photo by Josh Holt.