Hit Songwriter Dallas Davidson Reacts to Zac Brown's Comments About "That's My Kind of Night"
By: Alanna Conaway
Earlier this week, Zac Brown of the Zac Brown Band made major headlines after unleashing on the direction of today’s country music, singling out Luke Bryan’s current hit on the rise, “That’s My Kind of Night.” The tune penned by Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley and Chris DeStefano is an edgy, light-hearted song about what a country boy’s ideal night has in store, which happens to be just what fans are demanding as it nears Platinum-selling status and continues to climb the charts.
However, the song isn’t something Brown is fond of, and he let that be known, calling it “the worst song I’ve ever heard ... When songs make me wanna throw up, it makes me ashamed to even be in the same genre as those songs.” Some of country music’s biggest stars including Jason Aldean have already come to the defense of both Bryan and the song’s three writers, saying: “I hear some other artists are bashing my boy @lukebryan new song, sayin it’s the worst song they have ever heard…..…To those people runnin their mouths, trust me when I tell u that nobody gives a sh—what u think. It’s a big ol hit so apparently the fans love it which is what matters. Keep doin ur thing LB!!!”
Roughstock put a call into Dallas Davidson who has a long history with Bryan, both personally and professionally. The two were one-time college roommates who moved to Nashville around the same time to pursue separate paths in the music business. Today, both Davidson and Bryan are two of the biggest names in the songwriting and artist sides of the business, respectively.
“When Luke called and told me about it, the first thing I did was sit there and soak it in,” Davidson tells Roughstock in our exclusive chat with the two-time BMI Songwriter of the Year responsible for many of Country music’s biggest hits over the past several years. “A comment like that will hurt your feelings because when you write a song, it’s kind of like one of your babies. To hear a successful artist say it was the worst song he’s heard and it makes him want to throw up, that’s just not cool. I’m sure a lot of stuff like that has been said behind closed doors, and everybody has their right to their opinion, but to come out publicity and dog on other artists and dog on a song and the songwriters, to me, is just unacceptable and it’s not nice.
“We write songs for a living,” Davidson continues. “We write about what we know about. What I know about is sitting on a tailgate drinking a beer. Hell I live on the river. When Luke called me to tell me about what happened, I was literally smoking Boston butts on my homemade cooker at my 800 square foot river house with about four of my buddies with their trucks backed up, sitting on a tailgate. And they want to know why we talk about tailgates in songs … well that’s because we’re sitting on them. We did that 25 years ago, and we’re still doing it. I can’t write about things I don’t know about. Fortunately, there’s a lot of people in this country who do what I do. To say that that kind of song doesn’t fit in our genre is mind boggling because it absolutely does.”
Davidson adds there is room in Country music for all styles, including that of what the Zac Brown Band brings to the table.
“What they do is something different, but it’s something that a lot of people in this country love,” says Davidson. “I have no problem with Zac’s music. His stuff is a little more jam-band and Allmand Brothers-style with a little bit of a Country flare to it. That’s great! That’s great for Country music. But what the Peach Pickers do and what some other writers he mentioned [in his interview] who are having all the hits right now do are writing about what we know about and what people want to hear. I think the downloads and the ticket sales that come with those big hit songs are the facts, and that’s really all that matters to me. I’m going to keep doing that and keep writing what I know about, and hopefully people that don’t like what I’m doing will keep it to themselves.
“My mom always told me if you don’t have nothing nice to say, then don’t say it at all,” he adds. “That’s true. I think social media – Facebook and Twitter and Instragram – has really changed this whole generation where it’s okay to be mean, and it’s okay to talk bad about people. When I grew up, you didn’t do that. It’s a shame that that’s the way it is. This time I was on the wrong end of a comment, and I’m not real happy about it. But I’m in my pickup truck, and I’m heading into work. If that song makes him want to throw up, I hope I write one today that gives him the flu because that means I'm doing my job right. I’m going to write another one just like it because those sure are the fun ones to write and the fun ones to hear your best friends play onstage and watch the crowd get on their feet and dance to. Country music should be free – just like any music – however it’s written. All that should matter is how it appeals to the country music fans and the people who are riding in their cars and trucks with their radios on. That should be all that matters. I’m doing what I want, and I’m doing what I think people want to hear. We’ve got to give them what they want. That’s our jobs. Without the fans, we don’t have a job, so I’m going to keep doing my thing. And if anybody's wondering ... I've got Luke Bryan's back 'til the day I die."
Some of Davidson’s other writing credits include “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” (Justin Moore), “Gimme That Girl” (Joe Nichols), “Just a Kiss” and “We Owned the Night” (Lady Antebellum), “All About Tonight” and “Boys Round Here” (Blake Shelton), “All Over Me” (Josh Turner), “Put a Girl In It” (Brooks & Dunn), “This Ole Boy” (Craig Morgan), “I Don’t Want This Night to End” (Luke Bryan), “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” (Randy Houser), “Where I Come From” (Montgomery Gentry) and “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” (Trace Adkins).