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Story Behind the Song: Josh Thompson, ‘Blame It on Waylon’

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In February of 2010, Josh Thompson released his debut album, Way Out Here. The project earned a Top 10 spot on the country albums chart and spawned three Top 30 singles, but it also includes a song written with Rhett Akins, “Blame It on Waylon.” The tune, Way Out Here‘s second track, isn’t all about the outlaw country legend in its title, but it does name-check him. Below, Akins tells The Boot about how the song came to be.

This was the first time Josh and I had written together. It was his idea. We were spitting some titles out, and he said, “I have this idea called ‘Blame It on Waylon.'” I liked the title, I just thought it would be kind of too predictable if we wrote the whole thing about Waylon Jennings and use lines from his songs.

Obviously we had to have kind of a Waylon sound or a Waylon beat through the song. Josh came up with that cool guitar lick, and we saved the Waylon part until the chorus. We started thinking of things that we blamed things on, then when we got to the chorus, we came up with the part about loving music, and that’s why I sing — because of Waylon, Willie Nelson and all the outlaws.

I think I came up with the part about having the new tattoo: “I blame this new tattoo on a 100-proof bottle of whiskey.” We just started listing things that we blamed, things that have happened in our lives. Then we got to the part about “but for my honky-tonk ways, I blame it on Waylon.”

It was a fun write. I really had no idea he was going to even cut it. He never mentioned the song again after that day we wrote it. Next thing I know, I run into his producer, and he said they were cutting it.

This story was originally written by Alanna Conaway, and revised by Angela Stefano.

NEXT: Is Traditional Country Music Dead?

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