When country music singer Lee Brice released “I Drive Your Truck” in 2012 as the third single off his album Hard 2 Love, fans immediately reacted to its poignant lyrics.
It gained sufficient airplay to debut on the Country Airplay and eventually reached No. 1 on this chart four months later. It also peaked at No. 6 on the Hot Country Songs while No. 11 on the Country Digital Songs.
Moreover, “I Drive Your Truck” was named Song of the Year at the 47th annual Country Music Association Awards, as well as during the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
How A Father of a Fallen Soldier Inspired The Song
Written by Connie Harrington, Jessi Alexander, and Jimmy Yeary, “I Drive Your Truck” tells the tale of a man mourning for the loss of his older brother, who died in action while serving in the United States Army.
The younger brother paid a visit to his older brother’s grave to move on from the pain. He’s tried to grieve. He’s cursed, he’s prayed, and said goodbye. He even asked God why, but nothing ever made him feel close to his brother like driving his truck did.
“I drive your truck. I roll every window down, and I burn up every back road in this town. I find a field. I tear it up till all the pain’s a cloud of dust. Yeah, sometimes I drive your truck,” the song goes.
The first time Brice heard the song, it absolutely broke him down that he had to listen to it over and over again. “It slayed me,” the singer said. “I immediately fell in love with it.”
Indeed, the lyrics are intense enough to make even a grown man cry, but the poignant ballad only becomes more of a tearjerker when you learn that a real-life situation inspired it.
The story behind the song began one Memorial Day weekend a few years back when songwriter Connie Harrington was listening to a public radio program Here & Now. The reporter was interviewing a father remembering his son – Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti, who died in Afghanistan while trying to save a fellow soldier.
The late soldier was only thirty years old when he was killed in action in 2006. The father was then asked how he would commemorate his son during the Memorial Day, to which he answered that he’d do it by simply driving his son’s truck.
The father went on revealing his simple reasons for driving the truck his son left behind. He said: “What can I tell you? It’s him. It’s got his DNA all over it. I love driving it because it reminds me of him, though I don’t need the truck to remind me of him. I think about him every hour of every day.”
Harrington was moved by what she has heard and started scribbling down everything she could remember, all while fighting tears.
When Harrington shared that idea with Alexander and Yeary, things got really fast. After a while, writing lyrics for the emotional ballad began to get to Harrington. Her fellow songwriters revealed that she kept breaking down in tears that they’ve used her as a test for whether certain lyrics would fit into the song well or not. “Me and Jessi kind of joked that any line we threw out, if it didn’t tear her up, it must not be right!” Yeary explained.
Still, Harrington feels “like this song was such a gift. And it’s facilitated healing, I think, in people. And we just wanted him to know that it was his words that touched us.”
You can listen to the emotional ballad in the video below but make sure you get your tissues ready. This is a real tearjerker!