Country music artists and Ohio trio Rascal Flatts is best known for their great musicality, harmony, and their awesome instrument — their voice! To note, they are an award-winning group whose songs have been consistently topping the music charts. They have won CMT, CMA, and ACM awards for their hits. In 2006, they have earned a Grammy Award for “Bless the Broken Road” (for songwriters). But did you know that they did not write the song nor originally record it? Interestingly enough, they were just one of the many artists who rendered a version to the song. Let us know more about this tune as the songwriters reveal the real story behind it.
About the Song
Recorded by a number of American country music artists, “Bless the Broken Road” is a Christian country hymn made famous by the trio Rascal Flatts in 2004. Ten years ago, it was American songwriters Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd, and Jeff Hanna who penned the classic tune. The songwriters then presented the song to American country rock band from California Nitty Gritty Dirt Band who immediately recorded and produced it in 1994. The following year, one of the songwriters, Hummon released his recording and included it on his debut album, All in Good Time. It was produced by record producer Monroe Jones.
After almost a decade, “Bless the Broken Road” made its way to Rascal Flatts. Their version became the highest charting of all-time hitting no. 1 on the Billboard country music charts in 2005. In addition, their version earned the songwriters a Grammy Award for Best Country Song.
The Story Behind the Song As Told by the Songwriters
“This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you…”
Who could ever forget these lines as they are very much popular on the radio? But behind the fame and success that “Bless the Broken Road” has achieved lies a complicated journey before it eventually made its way to Rascal Flatts in 2004. In a rare occasion, the songwriters, Bobby E Boyd, Jeff Hanna and Marcus Hummon, met with Nashville Songwriters Association International correspondent Bart Herbison to discuss what’s really inside the beautiful song.
Below, the songwriters discuss the song:
Boyd opened the conversation and explained how it all started. He said:
“Well, a lot of heartbroken roads, I guess, in my life. I had the storyline in my spirit and I was trying to figure it out. I told it to Marcus one night over drinks, just how divorce and all these things bring you somewhere and then God uses that to take you where you’re supposed to go. And then a couple months later, Marcus came back and played me something.”
On the other hand, Hummon then came in and elaborated what Boyd said.
“He was talking about things that had been tough, but how he was really in love. He knew he was in love, and that everything that had happened was really blessed, in a different way of looking at it. I remember thinking that I was waiting on Jeff to get back from a honeymoon. He had married a good friend of ours, Matraca. … As soon as (Jeff) came back, I took what little I had and we went to work.”
Furthermore, Hanna excitedly responded and stated:
“He’d sat down at the piano and played this now famous (melody). It was so beautiful. He had me at the piano. I was like, ‘That’s pretty great.’ He starts singing and he had a good chunk. A little bit of the chorus and a little bit of the first verse as well. You had ‘God bless the broken road that led me straight to you.’ I was like, ‘Man, right there. I get that. That resonates with me.’ And like he said, we got to work. We started it and I think about a week later, I came back and we put the finishes touches on it.”
All three songwriters were very much in gratitude after many fans warmly received the composition. In fact, several other artists alike recorded their own versions.
Boyd recalled the first recording of the song with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
“Well, this song has been recorded multiple times. Let’s recall. The first was? The first was on the (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s) album ”Acoustic.'”
Hanna who is a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was quick to respond and said:
“Yeah, our band recorded it. When we recorded it, it was probably a month and a half or two months old, the song at that point. Our record company didn’t hear any hits on the album so we moved right on from that.”
Eventually, in 2004, “Bless the Broken Road” found its way to Rascal Flatts. The songwriters prompted that the record was actually with the trio already but are a little scared to cover it. Eventually, they pushed it after the song turned ten years old. To everyone’s surprise, the cover was a success highlighting the career of Rascal Flatts and the songwriters earning a Grammy award for it.
Later, they revealed that Reba McEntire personally told Boyd that she was going to cut it. Also, Faith Hill and Collin Raye showed their interest in the song. However, all three did not materialize an officially released recording.
WATCH: Rascal Flatts performs “Bless the Broken Road” in a live concert.
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