January 5.2015 – The Story Behind “Boondocks” by Little Big Town

Hear the story

If you grew up in the Boondocks (or “The Boonies”), by can relate to this song about rural life.

Little Big Town group member Phillip Sweet told this story: “Me and Jimi (Westbrook) and Kimberly (Schlapman) grew up in really small towns, population below 2,000. But Karen (Fairchild), she had Southern parents but grew up in Atlanta. But it’s not like she was that far removed from our whole thing. She grew up in the South, too, and she just happened to grow up in a little bit bigger metropolitan area as a kid. So we tease her about being a city girl, but she wasn’t a city girl. She was born in Griffith, Indiana. She’s like, ‘That’s the armpit of America.'”

Originally, the song was titled “Waiting For the Sun to Go Down”. According to Karen Fairchild, one of the group’s members, “When we wrote it, it just wasn’t there… We kind of set it aside for a few days and then Wayne [Kirkpatrick, one of the song’s co-writers] came back.”[3] The group later decided on turning the song into a Southern anthem, at which point Kirkpatrick suggested “I’m born and raised in the boondocks”. (The line “waiting for the sun to go down” was transferred to “Bones”, another song on the band’s album

Little Big Town’s business affairs were in disarray when they wrote this song, which was part of their first album released on Clint Black’s record label, Equity Music Group. Phillip Sweet told us how the song came together: “We were towards the end of getting dropped from Sony at that time. And we started making this music in that void. And there was a song that Wayne had, this little rolling, picking thing. It was like ‘Bones.’ The song ‘Bones’ and ‘Boondocks’ lived in the same world there for a minute. ‘Boondocks,’ the original title for that was ‘Waiting For the Sun to Go Down.’ But that line was actually used in ‘Bones.’ And you get that rolling/picking thing.

So you had that little piece that eventually became a line in ‘Bones.’ But ‘Boondocks,’ that melody, we weren’t really jiving on ‘waiting for the sun to go down’ – that just wasn’t strong enough for the end of that melody that ‘Boondocks’ was. So we lived with it for a little bit, we all tried to work on the lyric. But then one day Wayne came in and he said, ‘What if it was: ‘I feel no shame, I’m proud of where I came from, I was born and raised in the boondocks.” And we were like ‘Yeah.’ It was just instant. And that song took off and it became what it was.

And when we started working on ‘Bones,’ just (singing) ‘what goes around comes around, feel it breathing down heavy on you.’ All that stuff, real moody, it just seemed to fit that lyric, that context seemed to fit better into that kind of music. So it worked its way into ‘Bones,’ which turned out to be another thing.

But really ‘Boondocks’ was inspired by us just wanting to speak about who we are and what we’re about. Because there seemed to be a little bit of confusion there at Sony when we were signed there that we were a put-together band, or we weren’t country, we’re too slick. And nowadays you wouldn’t even get those kind of questions, but at that time it just seemed really strange. And I don’t think radio really understood who we were yet. So we just wanted to write this, and it was therapy for us and it was a chance for us to really make a statement about our roots. And that’s really what it was.”

There are lot of locals in the video, along with the daughter of Wayne Kirkpatrick, who helped write and produce the song. Said Sweet: “They directed it like a little bit of a casting call in the local town and people showed up and we picked ’em out and found some cool ones. Now, they did do that kind of stuff; they came out of the woods and got together and had cookouts and field parties and that kind of stuff. That’s what we wanted, that authenticity, so you believe that they actually did that stuff. It was cool. I like that element of real and gritty.”

“Boondocks” debuted at #59 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs and it eventually peaked at #9 in 2005 becoming
L.B.T.’s first top ten hit!

Lyrics: Written by Karen Fairchild, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Kimberly Roads, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook
I feel no shame
I’m proud of where I came from
I was born and raised in the boondocks

One thing I know
No matter where I go
I keep my heart and soul
In the boondocks

I can feel that
Muddy water runnin’ through my veins
I can hear that
lullaby of the midnight train
And it sings to me and sounds familiar

[Chorus]

I can taste that honeysuckle
And it’s still so sweet
When it grows wild
On the banks down at old Camp Creek
And it calls to me like a warm wind blowin’

[Chorus]

It’s where I learned about livin’
Its where I learned about love
Its where I learned about working hard,
And having a little was just enough
It’s where I learned about Jesus
And knowin’ where I stand
You can take it or leave it
This is me
This is who I am
Give me a tin roof, a front porch, and a gravel road
And thats home to me, feels like home to me

[Chorus]

You get a line I’ll get a pole
We’ll go fishin’ in the crawfish hole
Five card poker on Saturday night
Church on Sunday morning

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About Robynn

Robynn Jaymes has spent her whole life in radio… 30 years!! And almost half of them have been at Star Country. Originally from Cincinnati, Robynn came to the area as a Liberty University student. Along with all things country music, Robynn is a big fan of Football!—The Virginia Tech Hokies, The Washington Redskins and, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals. And also, “I’m addicted to the Weather Channel,” she says. Right now, Robynn is a big fan if the music coming from Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney! Robynn is also a winner of the Billboard Air Personality of the Year award. Hear all new Warm & Fuzzies with Robynn M-F at 11:45AM!

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