, this year's ACM Top Male Vocalist has sold 25 Million+ albums to date. His fifth album, A Place In The Sun
, set a first week sales record, and sold over 251,000 albums in the first five days of release, which caused him to become only the second act in the history of country music to sell this many records in the first week. His sixth album, Set this Circus Down
, went double platinum.
TRACK BY TRACK
1. Sleep Tonight:
--Angelo, Troy Verges, Hillary Lindsey
This song just has such a vibe to it. It's got a little bit of a Southern rock groove in the intro and the verses, and then it goes to a real modern thing in the choruses. The verses make me think of the Allman Brothers a little bit, the way the vocal lays in there. I heard the demo and just had to cut it, because it had such a great feel to it.
--Tony Mullins, Craig Wiseman
It's more of a traditional song, but it's also got a timeless truth to it.
It's just a little slice of life, about what it feels like when you go home and revisit your past. It's got a cool, modern feel to it, but it's also got a real looseness that keeps it organic.
3. Watch The Wind Blow By
--Anders Osborne, Dylan Altman
There's nothing better than a good, bluesy R&B groove. With a song like this, you can feel tempted to over sing it or sing it like you're trying to prove something. But the right way to approach this one was just to open my mouth and let it come out, and let the song tell me how to sing it. I think the song's message is kind of uplifting; it's light and breezy, but it's also very heartfelt. The images in the song always remind me of driving around the farm with Faith and the girls.
4. Red Ragtop
This is a great, powerful story song. It gives you a view into somebody's life as he looks back on the choices he made. I love it that songs can do that- conjure up a memory or a place, or a sense of what you were feeling at a particular time. In the times that we live in today, a song like this can make you reflect on your own life, where you've been, and where you're going.
5. Real Good Man
--Rivers Rutherford, George Teren
This one's just a classic, fun song. It was one of those songs that was a lot of fun to record and a lot of fun to play on stage. We thought that it was cool, and I felt like it was something we could do a good job on, so we did it.
6. Comfort Me
--Craig Wiseman, Don Poytress
This one just really feels grounded to me. The whole thing, from the snare drum roll at the beginning to the fiddle part to the Scottish/Irish feel on some of it, it just has a real deep-rooted feeling to it, which really appealed to me. Plus I liked the fact that the lyrics talk about America without jumping up and down and waving a flag. I think the song aims a little deeper than just raising some kind of patriotic emotion. We toyed with calling the album Comfort Me, because that title had a lot to do with that urban roots feel that I wanted for the record. To me, this song is like a bowl of soup on a cold day.
7. Sing Me Home
--Gordon Kenney, Wayne Kirkpatrick
This exemplifies the idea behind the way we approached this record. It's a real garage-band sounding kind of song in some ways, but at the same time it's also got a clean, smooth sound to it. It's got that earthy '70s vibe combined with a modern edge, and it fit in perfectly with what we were trying to accomplish with this record. We also named our NBC TV special after this song. Since we shot the special in my hometown of Start, LA, it made for the perfect title.
8. She’s My Kind Of Rain
--Robin Lerner, Tommy Lee James
Sonically this track is probably my favorite record that I've ever made, and lyrically it's one of the best songs that I've ever recorded. And to say that and know that it's the first time I've recorded with my band makes me feel really good. It's such a great lyric, such a great ode to a lover, and it's written in such an unconventional way.
9. That's Why God Made Mexico
--James T Slater
This seems like a lighthearted song, but it's almost like when somebody's talking to you in jest but they're really telling you how they really feel. Like when somebody says, 'Hey man, you're really an asshole' and you laugh, but then later you think 'Hey, wait a minute...'
This is a song that I recorded years ago with a group called Kattl, who I produced right before I started producing Jo Dee Messina. It was my first adventure into producing and we cut some things that I thought were great. They were a great band, but they kind of fell apart and nothing really happened with the stuff we recorded. I kept those songs in the back of my mind, and eventually we started playing them live and made them ours. We've been playing "Illegal" for five or six years at soundchecks, so it seemed like an obvious choice once it came time to make a record with the Dancehall Doctors. The song seemed to have a real '70s Eagles vibe to it, so it was cool to have Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit singing on it. I asked Don, who's a friend of mine, but I didn't have any idea that it would actually happen. They were recording an Eagles record, and right in the middle of all of that, they just took it in the studio and laid their track down. As a big Eagles fan, that was a real thrill for me.
11. Ticking Away
I cut this with Kattl at the same time as "Illegal," and we've also been playing it at soundchecks and in shows for years. It's always been a song that the band sounded great on, so it made sense to record it now. Those two songs just stuck around, and from time to time I've tried to mess with them and do them on a studio album, but they always turned out a little too slick, so I just saved them for when me and the guys could record them.
12. Tiny Dancer
I've always loved the feel and the vibe of Elton John's original version of the song, and when I heard it in Almost Famous it really jumped out at me and I felt like I could do something with it. We played it as the opening song on tour in 2001 and again in the summer of 2002. It definitely raised some eyebrows when I told everybody that I wanted to open the show with it, but it worked out really well and the fans really responded to it. It was a challenge to record such a well-known, classic song, but I think we did a pretty good job. Kim Carnes is singing background vocals, her voice stands out so great. Byron always said our voices would blend so well together.
13. I Know How To Love You Well
--Kristian Ottestad, Arne Hovda
This is one of my favorites. To me, the lyrics are completely naked and the way the guys play it is so honest. It's just a great love song. I think that the same feeling was in the heart and mind of every guy who played on it, and I think that that really comes across on the record.
14. Who Are They?
--Brett Warren, Brad Warren, Danny Tate
This is also one of those laughing-while-you're-hittin'-somebody-in-the-gut kind of songs. It's a sentiment that's always there with entertainers and people in the public eye, because you get criticized so much. But you also need to understand that getting criticized is part of the deal. It's along the lines of "Things Change," but a lot more lighthearted.
15. All We Ever Find
--Liz Rose, Kim Patton Johnston
It's the same type of theme as on "I Can Love You Well," and it's Faith's favorite song on the record. It's a l