Back in 2016, Kip Moore wrote a single with Chris Stapleton and Jaren Johnston that he ultimately gave to Frankie Ballard called “Cigarette”.
It’s a total hidden gem, (that whole album is) and if you’ve never heard of it before, it’s time to change that.
I mean, did you even know Kip had ever written a song with Chris? Talk about two heavyweight songwriters teaming up together, but the story of how the song came to be is equally as cool as the finished product.
During their writing session, the guys were trying to write a sad country song, and in the middle of the meeting, Kip excused himself and went outside for a smoke break… which is a pretty standard thing for him when he’s writing:
“That’s one of my habits when I write music. I stepped outside and saw a fairly attractive girl put out a cigarette right beside me.
I saw the lipstick around the butt, and I just started singing that chorus in my head.”
When he went back inside, he sang the chorus for them and everybody loved it immediately. With a little extra help from Jaren and Chris, they ended the day with a unique and gritty song that deserves way more attention than its ever received:
“I sang some of the chorus immediately, and they both loved it. I was kind of playing the guitar riff. Then Jaren spruced it up, and it just took off.
Chris jumped on the melody, and it just became a really cool collaboration that day. We all had a blast writing that song.”
It was ultimately included as the second single on Frankie Ballard’s 2016 El Rio album, which was his most recent studio album… and a fantastic one at that. I really hope that one day Frankie will jump back into the music business, because he’s so damn talented and had a really unique sound.
The song only peaked at #52 on the Billboard U.S. Country Airplay chart, which is just a damn shame.
Kip told CMT that he regrets not including “Cigarette” on his own 2015 Wild Ones record, and I wholeheartedly agree that it would’ve blended perfectly on the more rock-leaning tracklist that his second studio album delivered:
“I’m a fan of what Frankie does. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s a little bit of regret on my part for not cutting the song on the Wild Ones record.
I had a lot of songs to choose from on my plate. I think I had written so many new songs that those kind of took precedence over that song.
But I’ve always loved it. I’m glad to see an artist like Frankie do it justice.”
The chorus alone is just so Kip in terms of the phrasing and concept, and it’s not hard to imagine that he stood outside while he was actually smoking a cigarette and walked back in with this:
“I wanna be a cigarette Smoking on so cool Or maybe that red wine You’re drinking down so smooth I wanna be the fire That’s taking you higher Girl you can leave me Or let me burn I wanna be your cigarette Cigarette”
While Frankie totally made the song his own and crafted the production to fit his own personal style, there’s just somethin’ about hearing Kip sing it that leaves no doubt that it is, ultimately, his song:
And we all know by now that Kip recently reimagined his 2012 deep cut “Crazy One More Time” and released it as a single that will appear on his upcoming album (that has yet to be specified), so maybe there’s hope that one day he’ll cut his own version of “Cigarette” in the studio… it’s a need at this point.
And while we’re here, definitely check out Frankie’s version, too: