Story Behind the Song: Blake Shelton (feat. Trace Adkins), ‘Hell Right’
Blake Shelton's 2019 collaboration with Trace Adkins, "Hell Right," proves that the superstar's affinity for cutting tracks written by rising artist Hardy is no fluke. The songwriter and up-and-coming performer also co-wrote "God's Country," Shelton's previous single, which shot to the top of the country charts after it was released in the spring of 2019.
Hardy co-wrote "Hell Right" with David Garcia and Brett Tyler a few months after "God's Country" was recorded and released by Shelton, and while Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus' megahit "Old Town Road" was in the middle of its historic run atop the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The trio of writers nodded to the track in "Hell Right," but Hardy says he didn't expect listeners to react to the line the way they did.
Hardy does, however, have some ideas as to why Shelton keeps coming back to record more of the songs he's written. Still, that doesn't mean he's got a direct line with the "Boys 'Round Here" star; in fact, Hardy admits he got a little starstruck during a text exchange with Shelton.
Read on to learn the story behind "Hell Right," told in Hardy's own words.
Gimme a second, and I'll tell you the exact day [that we wrote "Hell Right"] ... May 29, 2019. So [Shelton heard it, recorded it and released it] in a month and a half.
Before we left the room that day, I said, "Back up hold for me!" It was kind of a joke, just because holds in general are kind of bulls--t, but I was just like, "I'll take it if somebody huge doesn't want it." And then, literally a week later, Blake [said he did]. It's crazy.
I think ["Hell Right," as compared to "God's Country"] is still Blake, but, you know, Blake, and a lot of very developed artists, have shades of themselves, and I think this is just that storyteller, "Boys 'Round Here," clever, a little more tongue-in-cheek, a little less serious [side] ... I think this is kind of just getting back to the "Hillbilly Bone," "Boys 'Round Here," just tongue-in-cheek, kind of cool thing. And he makes it so believable.
I didn't really think people were gonna freak about [the line that goes "the girl from the small town took off the "Old Town" / Put on a little Hank Jr."] so bad ... We just kind of did it as a paying homage to Hank [Williams] Jr. I mean, you coulda said "took off the" whoever. In my head, and the way that we kind of thought, was, it's the song that they're playing the crap out of, and it's this new, fresh thing, and some girl comes in and is like, "No, here's some old-school Hank Jr." ... But people are pissed ... In the room that day, we were like, "Hell yeah," and I'm still like, "Hell yeah." ... Whatever, dude, I don't know, just get mad if you want, but I think it's a cool line, and I'm sticking to that, always.
I think a lot of [the reason why Shelton has recorded multiple songs I wrote recently is due to] weird timing with my songwriting success. I feel like I've been writing good songs for maybe four years now -- that I really dialed in and started to figure it all out. When a songwriter's hot and you hear that song, you wanna hear more of what they're doing. I think that has a lot to do with it. Because I don't really have a direct relationship with Blake. Like, he texted me the other day, and I almost lost my s--t.
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