Frankie Ballard’s third studio album, 2016's El Rio, features the electric guitar-driven track “Good as Gold,” written by Mando Saenz and Justin Bogart. Nashville-based Saenz, who has released three studio albums himself, opened up to The Boot about writing the song and Ballard’s interpretation of the track. Read on for his thoughts.

That’s more of the classic case of: write a song, have it demoed, pitch [it and have] someone cut it. It’s more of your textbook-Nashville way of getting a song cut.

I wrote it with Justin Bogart. I might have written with him once or twice before, but I didn’t know him that well.

The song just came about: We started playing some music, going through some chord progressions and melodies, and I didn’t have a hook in mind or anything, just started singing some melodies. “Good as gold” kind of just came out, and we worked from there. Sometimes things just fall out.

Writing a lot for a publisher, you kind of forget things that you write; you just put it in your phone and turn it in. When it’s time to do a batch of demos, they just go through and pick five or so, and that was one they [went], “Hey, what about this one?” And I go, “Yeah, I remember liking that when I wrote it.” So, we went in and demoed it, and the demo just came out really cool and took it to a different place and [made it a song] that was pitchable.

I wasn’t too familiar with Frankie, but soon after the demo was done, they put that song on hold for him, and they ended up cutting it. He did such a great job on that song ... He kind of stuck to what it was, but he’s a good guitar player and kind of led it a little more guitar-driven. But, he stuck very much to the sentiment of the song and what the demo was.

He’s been great. He plays that song live a lot, and he’s always said that song meant a lot to him. You can tell the way he sings it, he really felt it. That’s very flattering for a songwriter, to have someone embrace a song like that.

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