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“UNBRIDLED” (A. Smith / D. Carroll)
“Unbridled” really sets the tone for the whole project and is a perfect way to open the CD. Dustin approached Anthony Smith in search of a song that fit the "rodeo rock 'n roll" mold Chris LeDoux made popular. Anthony returned with a song he had penned with Dani Carroll. It immediately struck us as an anthem for our record. It does a great job of conveying the intensity of today’s rodeo cowboy. The instrumentation is full-throttle, and the message is loud and clear: A cowboy's fears are simply no match for the adrenaline rush of that next ride.
“ONE HAND IN THE RIGGIN'” (B. Hill / B. Bouton)
This is a great rodeo song that was written by Brenn Hill and Bruce Bouton. Chris was a big fan of Brenn, who is a cowboy singer from Utah. He’s an extraordinary guy and an excellent writer. The song tells a story that's familiar to most cowboys. He's short on money, short on sleep, and short on time, but he'll do whatever it takes to make it to that next rodeo.
“THINK ABOUT RAIN” (M. McKinney / J. Scott)
Our buddy, Matt McKinney, wrote this powerful ballad with Joie Scott. Matt started this song after coming back from his home state of South Dakota where a major drought was taking its toll on so many rural families, including his own. Like so many farmers and ranchers out there, they're doing their best to find hope in a desperate situation. It’s really a song about staying strong through tough times.
“KING OF WYOMING” (M. Sissel / R. Merrill)
Mark wrote this song with Chris’ first booking agent/manager, Randy Merrill, about five years before we lost Chris. It’s about a man who is tired of city life and dreams of heading west to ride with one of his cowboy heroes. The song wasn’t meant to directly speak of Chris but rather more about the extraordinary feelings we had as a result of hanging with a true American Icon.
“BROKEN IN” (R. Akins / G. Loyd / B. Hayslip)
We heard this at the office one day as we were looking for songs to record and loved it instantly. We're not youngsters out here, and this song sums up the idea that being a little broken in is a good thing.
“WHITE BUFFALO” (M. Sissel / R. Merrill)
Mark read a story in a newspaper in the mid-70’s, about the lore of these white buffalo. It struck a chord with him so strongly that he cut the article out and carried the story around with him for 25 years, thinking that one day he would get around to writing a song about it. It took a good amount of time, but eventually Mark found the right co-writer in Randy Merrill. We really love how this one came out. Dave Brainard, our co-producer, helped make the recording more of a piece of art with some great arrangement ideas.
“STEAM ENGINE” (M. Sissel)
This is a fun song Mark wrote from the angle of a person being a steam engine about at the end of their era, as they watch the new diesel engines taking over – similar to being “the old guitar player” watching these talented young kids come up the line playing their butts off.
There's always a passing of the baton, and you just can't stop progress.
“GOOD ‘OL DAYS TO COME” (D. Evans / D. Brainard / T. Mathews)
This is a feel-good song and one we felt summed up our feeling that we will always look back fondly on the good ‘ol days running down the road with Chris and all the memories we created back then. They should never be forgotten, but this song reminds us not to spend too much time in the past, when you can still make each new day one to remember.
“HERE” (D. Brainard / D. Couch / G. Becker)
It's a long road down life’s highway, searching for a place where you really belong...and for someone to share the trip with. It can be a lonely run, but if you don't give up you may just find what you're looking for when you least expect it. Love trumps all, and when you find it, you don't need to be anywhere but right HERE.
“ROCK SPRINGS TO CHEYENNE” (K. Attaway)
We think we’re drawn to songs about Wyoming. Our good friend, Kip Attaway, wrote this one. There's a ton of heart in this song and Pops Evans sings it with all the soul you could ever ask for.
“I’VE GOT TO BE A RODEO MAN” (C. LeDoux)
We’re tickled Ned stepped in to do this. It’s a fitting tribute from a son to his father. We could tell Chris was there with us through the recording process, and that was never more evident than on this song. The recording – captured on tape with Ned singing and strumming a guitar – is as raw and real as it gets. It's really between Ned and his Dad, and that's just how we left it.