Story Behind the Song: Travis Tritt, ‘Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde’
In 2002, Travis Tritt released "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde" as the fourth single from his Down the Road I Go album. James LeBlanc and Walt Aldridge wrote the song, which made its way into the Top 10 (No. 8) on the country charts.
Below, LeBlanc shares with The Boot his memories of co-writing "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde."
I definitely remember that I wrote it on a Monday ... and I left Shreveport, La., on Sunday, headin' over to Alabama to write songs, and I stopped in a little town called Gibsland, [La.], which is right off of Interstate 20, about 30-45 minutes outside of Shreveport, headin' towards Alabama, and that's where Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed. At this gas station I was at, they had this little pamphlet sittin' there, and it had, like, pictures of Bonnie and Clyde and [a list of] everything that they were accused of doing and pictures of the car all shot up and whatnot, and so I grabbed that and put that into my car and I took that into my appointment Monday morning ...
[Aldridge] was already a majorly established songwriter with lots and lots of No. 1 hits under his belt, and so I showed [the pamphlet] to him and told him how fascinating that was, and he said, "Man, let's just write that." And one of us starting playing that little groove ... A lot of times when you're writing with these veteran songwriters, they'll just start spittin' out lines, and I just wind up taking dictation, so it kind of fell out like that.
We probably wrote it and did the demo pretty much all in the same day. I don't necessarily remember fumbling over any of the lines or anything like that, but that's how that song came about ... As far as looking for something to write about, that was as good as anything. So it just kind of came out like that.
I was a staff writer at the time, with a publishing house based out of Muscle Shoals, [Ala.], but we also had offices on Music Row, and it was just one of the songs in my catalog that we pitched ... So, it was just one of the songs that got played for Travis' people. A guy named Billy Joe Walker Jr. produced it, and I know it got played to him because he told me later on that it really stood out to him because the track was just kind of lo-fi and funky; it wasn't a big, bombastic Nashville production ... It was different than everything else they listened to ... and then they played it for Travis, and he dug it; he learned it and started playing it around ...