The Story Behind the Song: Jason Aldean, “Dirt Road Anthem”



“Dirt Road Anthem” was written by Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert before both went onto solo success. It was recorded by Jason Aldean and climbed to the top spot on the charts. 

We were able to catch up with Ford to get his take on where the song came from. 

When and where did you write the song?

FORD: We wrote the song at Brantley’s house in Athens, Georgia. I was going to pick him up to go write with our friend, Mike Dekle, a veteran songwriter. Brantley just said, “I got an idea for you,” and he had the melody and most of the chorus. There is something about that melody, and I think Brantley is great with that.

What inspired the song?

Our life. That is how we grew up. When we say, “Potts Farm,” that’s a place that Brantley hung out growing up, which is really cool.

How long did it take to write?

The funny thing is, we wrote this song in probably 45 minutes. I guess Brantley had already started, so we didn’t think much about it. We just knew we liked it. We never knew the whole world would love it as much as we do.

What was the co-writing process like?

“Dirt Road Anthem” was the first song we ever wrote together, but we were both fans of each others’ music, and we like the same things, so it just came out. This song was really made for me, and it was cool that Brantley knew who I was as an artist; that doesn’t always happen with me. We write well with each other, and I wish we had more time to write.

Were there any lines or words you can remember that were tough to make a decision on?

They all came really easy because we were writing about our life. We weren’t sure about “Swerving like I’m George Jones,” but that was real to us, so we went with it.

How did the song get to Jason Aldean and producer Michael Knox?

I played a bunch of shows with Jason in ’09, and I was playing that song because it was on my first album (Ride Through The Country) and was already a hit with mine and Brantley’s fans. Jason saw the reaction from the crowds. When a guy is playing that has never had a song on the radio and 10,000 people are singing every word to the song, you know it’s something special. Brantley had also cut a few sides with Michael Knox, and he loved the song, so it was the perfect storm I guess.

How would you describe “Dirt Road Anthem?”

The song is just about real life and country folks, or anyone that has been to the country can feel what we are talking about. The melody is intoxicating! I just love the fact that it is honest and representative of who Brantley and I are as songwriters and artists.

Any words of wisdom or advice for aspiring songwriters, regarding both the craft and business?

I write from my soul about things I know about. I don’t sit down and say, “I’m gonna write a hit.” I just want to write what I feel. I don’t think there are bad songs really; if you felt it and wrote it then that makes it good. It is kind of funny that if a certain artist cuts a song it can be huge, and not huge if someone else cut it. That does not mean the song is not great. Songs are like magic — they can have more affect on someone than politics or religion, and that is amazing!



  1. I’m the real life ya’ll sing about. If I didn’t know any better I’d think that maybe I knew you in some past life when I was a little girl. You remind me of my neighbor Casey. We used to crawl up on my the roof of my farm house. I know God sent you, and Luke, and Brantley to me to hlp me get through the last 8 years and I’m still waiting on ya’ll. I’m in Texarkana, Texas now and as usual I naturally walked into exactly what all of your songs say like Hell on an Angel and Tim McGraw’s This is gonna be one of those nights. Oh and Brantley’s I’ll Fly Away. I saw the lightning bugs for the first time here and the stars still twinkle so I guess I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be waiting on ya’ll to come and get me and take me home.

  2. Pastor Keith Kraft is my pastor at Elevate Life Church in Frisco Texas. I know ya’ll don’t buy anything that you can’t fix with “W”in”D” i+40 “WhY” on the east, “Because I said So on the West.” and a craftsman wrench. Texas Bragg Enterprises are the Letters written in Red. My answer Bible along with the Bible that matches her boots on Johnny Cash are all written in Brown Letters just like Lone Star Trailer Parts. The True Identity Bible where all of this arguing started in the first place 8 years ago… is in Blue Letters just like the Antioch Church that I stopped at in North Carolina when I was 18 years old. I’m pretty sure I was in my pearl white eclipse that time though. I hit a barrel in Lewisville, Texas in that car if that helps Brantley at all in You Don’t Know Her Like I Do. My Daddy fought in Vietnam and my Pa Paw fought in World War Two where he had both hands shot off. His buddy picked them up and put them in milk and the sewed them back on and he had full use of them. That’s a miracle if you ask me. Anyway just thought I’d give ya’ll a little of the Alishia D’Ann vise and maybe a little abnormal uncommon sense, since ya’ll seem to have all of the other kind of cents I don’t have any of because I don’t get paid to catch the bad guys I just point them out. Hopefully ya’ll are on the catching end. I know Brantley rolled through the jail after the evil came in, in the car that I got stuck in McKinney. It looks like we’ve got him surrounded in videos, he is the one hiding behind the bonfire in Kick It In The Sticks

  3. Oh and I have plenty more of extremely valuable completely useful heavenly information for people who actually care about catching the bad guys rather than allowing them to push the blame off on to innocent people or try to threaten them for standing up for the real truth catching the real liars the real thieves the real deceivers and anyone who would like to challenge my God given gifts, talents, ability, know how, insight, and Spirituality to defend the innocent and put an end to evil for all eternity. I’m just here to set the record straight and to make sure we all know that God and His Son are both alive and well on earth and actively working hard to keep all of those from Amarillo Sky and Abraham, Daniel, Paul, Tim, Peter, Andrew, Issac, Jacob, Isaiah, Luke, Matthew, Mark, John 4:29, Faith, Hope and Love in Adamsville, Tennessee DB’s, CDB’s, ADB’s, BC’s, BCC’s, and CC’s from Genesis to Revelation also digging up the old hidden gospels and all of those things that nobody seems to take seriously around here other than me. Oh and let’s not forget the good ol’ 10 commandments that are chiseled in stone that everyone seems to still struggle with other than my own real family. I don’t know it just comes kinda natural to us. We don’t have to be taught the difference between right and wrong we just came that way naturally from Heaven… I guess that is what makes us so abnormal. Is that why these people in Texarkana, Texas are so mean to me????

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