Florida Georgia Line's “May We All” lyrics bring a down-home, wistful vibe to country radio, inspired by the real-life childhoods of the two songwriters.
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Rodney Clawson has been one of the most successful writers in Nashville over the past few years. He co-wrote the song with Jamie Moore, inspired by wishing his own kids could experience the kind of innocent, idyllic childhood that he had.
“I'd had this idea for a while, and thrown it out to some other writers, and nobody really latched onto it. Some of them said, 'I don't really get that,'” he tells Taste of Country. “But I had kind of a vision for it, as far as … basically the first line of the song explains it: 'May we all get to grow up in a red, white and blue little town,' you know? Just thinking about my kids and living in Nashville, but wishing, 'Man, I wish they had the opportunity to live in a little town that has a two-block main street with one flashing light,' and all that stuff.”
Clawson grew up in the small town of Gruver in the Texas panhandle and continued to live there even after he scored his first Nashville publishing deal in 2000, traveling back and forth to write while still farming with his father before finally moving to Nashville in 2005. Those life experiences color his perspective, and the “May We All” lyrics exhort listeners to recognize the simple pleasures of that life.
“May we all get to grow up in our red white and blue little town / Get a one star hand me down Ford to try to fix up / With some part time cash from driving a tractor / Find a sweet little thing, wears your ball cap backwards / Kinda place you can’t wait to leave but nobody does / ‘Cause you miss it too much,” the first verse states.
“The song is just kinda hoping for people to get to experience that, and get to experience the fullness of life,” Clawson says.
“There's a lot of me, and there's a lot of Jamie,” Clawson affirms. “Jamie grew up down in Florence/Muscle Shoals, and there's a small town kind of feel to it. We both put a lot of our growing up in this song, so it's pretty personal to both of us. We're just happy that it's gonna get out there, and people are gonna get to hear it.”
They”ve evolved a lot as people, not just artists. It”s only natural that the songs that they want to put out now are maybe a little more mature.
Moore contributed extensively to the music track, which they worked on off and on for a month before they finally felt it was right. Tim McGraw and Luke Bryan were on the short list of artists they felt would be good for the song, but one pitch was more obvious than the others.
“I write, not at the same company, but in the same building where Florida Georgia Line's management is, and publishing and all that, where they record everything. So when I turn a song in, it usually gets first consideration of, is this good for FGL? And if it is, then it never leaves the building,” Clawson shares. “That was kind of the case with that song. No one else ever heard that song. It never left the building.”
Ironically, Big Machine labelmate McGraw wound up on “May We All” anyway, after FGL asked him to guest on the track. He also appears in the upcoming video for the song. Clawson has had singles with McGraw in the past, and he points to his work ethic as one of the main ingredients of his success, as well as his knack for picking songs.
“May We All” is the second single from FGL's upcoming third album, Dig Your Roots, and like the lead single, “H.O.L.Y.,” it delivers on Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard's promise to deliver more mature songs. Clawson says that's only natural.
“Any act, they all know that they need to evolve and progress, and they have,” he states. “Personally, we've known these guys from before they had a record deal, and wrote with them before anything was ever happening. They were young guys, and now they're both grown up. It's several years later and they're both married, and they've evolved a lot as people, not just artists. It's only natural that the songs that they want to put out now are maybe a little more mature.”
“You can't keep doing the same thing over and over,” he adds. “You have to evolve as an artist, or you're gonna go away, and I think they've done a great job with finding another little road to go down that will work for them.”
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