George Birge has a talent for taking a simple concept and turning it into an in-depth song. He took this mentality into the writers’ room the day he, Colt Ford, Jaron Boyer, and Michael Tyler wrote “Mind on You.”
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The light energy in the writer’s room that day allowed for the idea for “Mind on You” to take shape, with Boyer suggesting the title. He also had the beginning of the hook. That’s when Birge came in with the line I got my mind on you / And you on my mind.
“I pitched the idea of the direction of the way that I felt about my wife when I first met her, when I was infatuated with her and she was all I could think about when I was with her, and then in my mind all the time daydream-wise when I wasn’t with her,” Birge expresses to American Songwriter. “I was like, ‘If we could capture that almost infatuation [and] obsession in a song, make it a love song, but also steamy with some edge to it.”
“It’s got a little toughness to it and that was what we started chasing. … It’s always awesome on days when you capture magic like that because you never know what you’re going to get when you go into the writer’s room and to be able to do that with great friends is even more amazing. … We were all looking at each other like, ‘I think we wrote a hit today.’ And that’s a really good feeling.”
The live performance video for the song, filmed in Flora-Bama, premieres exclusively with American Songwriter below.
Another person who had a feeling they wrote a hit is Michael Knox, Jason Aldean’s producer. While writing the song, the team wanted to pitch it to another artist, thinking Aldean’s voice would be an ideal fit for the track. They sent the demo to Knox, who responded a day later and said that Aldean wanted to put it on hold to record for his new album.
In addition to being a songwriter, Birge was also building a career as a solo artist following eight years as part of the duo Waterloo Revival with Cody Cooper, which disbanded in 2021. As Birge’s music started gaining traction on social media, particularly with the success of “Beer Beer, Truck Truck” on TikTok, Birge signed a record deal with RECORDS Nashville.
After listening through Birge’s collection of songs, he got a call from the co-founder of the record label, Barry Weiss, urging him to get “Mind on You Back” from Aldean, telling him that it could be a career-changing song if he recorded it for himself. Birge admits it was “scary” asking for the song back, but that Aldean and his team were gracious in releasing it.
“I got to put it out with my own name on it, which is a huge risk,” Birge says, adding that he’s heard it play on multiple country radio stations. “[That] was a really validating feeling after taking that risk. Now we’re going out and playing live shows, and people are singing it back to us…it’s a really validating feeling to roll the dice and have it worked out like that.”
The singer got to experience that validation firsthand when he performed the song live at Flora-Bama, a beachside bar and live music venue in Pensacola, Florida. Calling it a “rite of passage in country music” to perform at the venue where Kenny Chesney hosted a free concert in 2014 that drew thousands of fans, Birge was in awe “following the footsteps is some people that I really look up to,” he says. “You give it all to the audience and they give it all back to you.”
The crowd proved that by staying with Birge at the show even after the edge of a hurricane came rolling through, cutting out all the power and showering the fans in rain. Birge made the most of it by performing a cover of Billy Currington’s “Let Me Down Easy” a cappella, which the entire crowd sang along to. Once the power came back on, they kept the energy up high as Birge closed out the show with “Mind on You,” as reflected in the video above, which shows audience members holding up their phones to capture every moment, swaying along while fanning themselves off from the heat.
“The crowd was there with us, supporting us through the technical difficulties,” Birge recalls. “And then to plug back in and everybody’s hot and sweaty and dripping with rain and fired up to be there. [To] play ‘Mind on You’ and have that response, it was such a special night. It was one that you don’t forget as an artist.
“I was really proud of the band and the crowd for taking those setbacks and making a magical night out of it,” he continues. “As an artist, you create music and you hope other people like it, and when you get to step back and see that connection, it’s really incredible and it’s what I’ve dreamed about forever. You never really believe it until you get to see something like that. So it was pretty cool.”
Photo Courtesy of Wide Open Music