Jon Langston never envisioned himself becoming a songwriter. Heck, if he’s being completely honest with himself, he assumed he would have become a high school football coach in Georgia by now. Even when he showed up in Nashville under the protective wing of Luke Bryan, he assumed he would be the singer of the words rather than the writer of the words.
But in the last couple of years, he’s here.
He’s a songwriter.
And yes, Langston snags co-writing credits on his new single “Happily Ever After,” a rip-roaring breakup song with an addictive hook that is destined to be a crowd favorite some fine day after this damn pandemic.
The song came to be two summers ago, as Langston found himself on the tour bus with fellow songwriters Blake Bollinger and Brent Anderson, toying with the idea of writing yet another breakup song. But, this time, they wanted it to be different.
“I had all of these breakup songs that were mid-tempo, ballad-y type, heartbreak, woe is me songs, but I didn’t have that up-tempo, ‘hey I’m over this’ kind of songs,” explains Langston, who wrote his first actual song back in 2013. “I always seemed down in the dumps with my breakup songs. (Laughs.) Why can’t we have a fun, beer drinking buddy, broke up with my girl kind of song?”
So, they created it.
And soon after they created it, Langston and the band started playing it.
“We tried it out and everyone immediately was like, ‘when does that song come out?” Langston remembers. “It was so cool to see the fans fired up about it before it even came out.”
And now that it’s out, all Langston wants to do is play it live again.
“We will get to a point, and the time better be coming soon, that we can get back out there,” Langston with a little bit of understandable anger in his voice. “I mean, I haven’t been able to pay our guys. They count on a paycheck from touring. Something has to happen soon. We can’t go on much longer.”
He pauses for a moment.
“But yeah, we wanted to write a ‘get your heart broke and I’m drunk now and ‘I’m good to go’ kind of songs,” continues Langston. “We wanted the song to speak for itself.”
And it does, thanks in part to the lyrical efforts of Anderson, who Langston proudly calls a ‘word wizard.’
“When he wrote about the ‘daddy trust fund,’ I felt that,” Langston laughs. “The same thing with the ‘hank on a juke’ part and the ‘stomping these boots.’ We had a lot of laughs writing this one.”
Langston and the boys also wanted to take full advantage of not only those aforementioned lyrical tornadoes, but they also wanted to take full advantage of the solid steel guitar within the song.
“We basically wanted the steel guitar to be its own hook throughout the entire song,” remembers Langston, who reached the top 30 last year with his single “Now You Know.”
And then, there was the almighty ‘woo.’
“When we were writing, we wanted to make it a moment where we knew we could get the crowd involved,” says Langston. “My live shows have always been quite interactive, and I loved being able to be very intentional with the whole ‘woo’ in the song. I knew it would be the part that the crowd would love putting their hands up on and screaming.”
Plus, his manager Kerri Edwards loves it.
“It’s her favorite part of the whole darn song.”
The only hiccup in the writing process was in fact the bridge, which goes on to repeat a little lyrical ditty that goes a little like, ‘yeah I pop another top, throw it on back, put it on my getting’ on over tab.’”
“We felt like we needed another line, and we were stuck on it for a bit,” Langston admits. “I mean, we said everything we needed to say, and we really didn’t have anything else catchier and hookier, so we decided to repeat it again with the same cadence and delivery but with the phrasing a hair different…and it worked.”
Indeed, it’s a time of trial and error for Langston in the songwriting department right now, and that’s alright by him.
“I’m not only finding out who I am as an artist, but as a writer,” Langston says. “I’m not just throwing stuff on paper that rhymes. I’m making it hook into something. I’m writing things that I know people will gravitate towards. I’ve loved the process and journey of becoming a better songwriter and I’ve really loved getting into the room with people that are better than me. I’m here to learn. That’s my approach. And yeah, it’s been fun.”