June 11.2015 – Story Behind “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” by Justin Moore

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This Dallas Davidson, Rob Hatch and Brett Jones penned ballad was originally recorded by American Country artist Rhett Akins in 2006. His version was released as a single but did not chart. Justin Moore covered the song several years later and released it as the lead-off single to his second studio album, Outlaw Like Me.

Justin told Nashville Music Scene the song struck an emotional chord with him because he felt his own life was reflected in the storyline. He explained: ‘If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away’ is one of those songs you hear one time, and know immediately that it’s special. Everybody, unfortunately, can relate to the lyrics in this song. It’s a part of life. You have to go through losing loved ones. Personally, I went through it a year ago losing my grandpa and aunt in the same week.

The great thing about this song is that it will make you laugh and cry, and evoke every other emotion you can think of. To me, that’s what Country music is all about. That’s why I make it, love it, and live it.”

Justin told The Boot how he came across this tune: “I heard the song awhile back, when Rhett [Akins] cut it,” he explained. “Rhett and I are good friends, and he actually co-wrote three or four songs on my new album. I remember telling some people awhile back that I loved that song. We had the whole album cut and we were going through stuff to pick a first single, and my producer happened to see a clip on YouTube. He said, ‘Remember, you liked this song awhile back?’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ It was something that fell from the sky, going, ‘You need to cut this song!’ So even though I didn’t write it, I cut it right away, and I was the main cheerleader to get it to be the first single, because it was very personal to me and a lot of people.”

Dallas Davidson, Rob Hatch and Brett Jones recalled the writing of the song in an interview with The Boot:
Davidson: “It was five years ago. We were all talking about Brett’s brother who he lost in the Vietnam War. Rob and I brought up our granddads. We were all saying, ‘I wish I could go see him. Once they are gone, they are gone.’ I can’t remember who first said it, but we all knew it was a good title. Then we started playing our guitars, and Brett already had a melody going. The lyrics just flew out. Once we had the ideas, we just painted the pictures. I really had a dog named Beau and I said, “I wish I could take him hunting one more time.” We’re all from small towns and being from small towns, there were fruit stands on every corner. We tried to make the characters such that everybody who hears the song can relate to it.”

Hatch: “We are so excited about it. When we wrote it, Dallas and I didn’t even have publishing deals yet. A lot of the places in it are real. The Flint River Bridge is where Dallas and Brett are from – they are Georgia boys. We all hard our own images to add. When we got finished with the song, Brett said, ‘Boys, this is a hit.’ Even about a year ago I saw him at a wedding and he said ‘I’m telling you, that song is going to be a hit. It’s going to have its time.’ It has personally meant a lot to us that after all this time it has been found again.”

Jones: “Dallas came in and said he saw a little girl on TV and she said, ‘Heaven is so far away.’ So then I said, ‘I had a lot of people die in my life.’ We started talking. My older brother was killed in Vietnam, and my little brother died in a motorcycle accident. My dad died when he was only 61. We all lost people we loved. We all started talking and the song sort of wrote itself. It magically came together. My sister can’t listen to it. It makes her cry. Still, the song has an uplifting, subliminal message. The great things about songs is they don’t die and they don’t go away. When you have a great song, it will seem to find a way to get out there and become a hit.”

Lyrics:
Every day I drive to work across Flint River bridge
A hundred yards from the spot where me and grandpa fished
There’s a piece of his old fruit stand on the side of Sawmill Road
He’d be there peelin’ peaches if it was twenty years ago
What I wouldn’t give
To ride around in that old truck with him

If heaven wasn’t so far away
I’d pack up the kids and go for the day
Introduce them to their grandpa
Watch ’em laugh at the way he talked
Find my long lost cousin John
The one we left back in Vietnam
Show him a picture of his daughter now
She’s a doctor and he’d be proud
Tell ’em we’d be back in a couple of days
In the rear view mirror we’d all watch him wave
And losing them wouldn’t be so hard to take
If heaven wasn’t so far away

I’d hug all three of those girls we lost
From the class of ninety nine
And I’d find my bird dog Bo and take him huntin’ one more time
I’d ask Hank why he took those pills back in fifty three
And Janis to sing the second verse of “Me and Bobby McGee”
Sit on a cloud and visit for a while
It’d do me good just to see them smile

If heaven wasn’t so far away
I’d pack up the kids and go for the day
Introduce them to their grandpa
Watch ’em laugh at the way he talked
I’d find my long lost cousin John
The one we left back in Vietnam
Show him a picture of his daughter now
She’s a doctor and he’d be proud
Tell him we’d be back in a couple of days
In the rear view mirror we’d all watch him wave
Yeah losing them wouldn’t be so hard to take
If heaven wasn’t so far
If heaven wasn’t so far
If heaven wasn’t so far away

So far away
So far away

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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!