Of course, his hardcore fans have known that for years, and it was actually released as a single back in 2014.
Along with “Young Love,” both songs were supposed to be featured on the tracklist of his 2015 sophomore album, Wild Ones, but were left as stand-alone singles when they each stalled at country radio, failing to crack the top 30.
But the story behind the song is really interesting, and Kip wrote it with his friends and frequent collaborators Dan Couch and Westin Davis.
Kip says they got the idea during a writing session one day, when they were talking about how they all come from small towns and were raised similarly:
“‘Dirt Road,’ one of those songs that we’ve been playing out live for quite a while now, that I wrote with Westin Davis and Dan Couch.
We were all sittin’ around the writing room the day we wrote it, we were all talking about the similar backgrounds that we come from.”
He added that growing up in a small southern Baptist church down in south Georgia wasn’t always light and airy on Sunday mornings, and hearing about fire and brimstone week in and week out (plus, if I had to guess, on Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights, too) really effected him as a young teenager.
And all I’m gonna say is, if you know what he’s talking about… then you know:
“From, you know, small town Baptist communities, and what that was like, being a young teenage kid.
You know, at 12 and 13 years old, trying to wrap my head around hellfire damnation every single Sunday was a very heavy thing.”
Of course, everyone’s experience growing up in church varies widely, but there does seem to be a bit of a different angle to it down here that’s not always overly positive. And those small town southern Baptists churches he’s talking about?
They are an experience to say the very least. In the music video for this song, there’s a very expressive preacher that, while is definitely exaggerated, really isn’t all that far off from a few that I’ve known in my day, but I digress…
And actually, the song started out as a slower, more stripped back, acoustic version of the more rocking, upbeat version we all know and love:
“You know, ‘Dirt Road’ actually started out with a very organic acoustic guitar pickin’ thing that I was doing.
Then I just never quite felt like that matched the intensity of the way I sang the song, and the way I delivered the song.
And then it just kinda morphed into this whole, really intense rockin’ tune.”
This video of him talking about the song is from eight years ago, but it’s still true that “Dirt Road” remains a fan-favorite to this day, regardless of how well it did on mainstream country radio.
And at Kip’s live shows, it’s still one of those songs people always shout out for him to play. I saw him just about two weeks ago, and I heard at least five people suggest this one when he took a few requests.
Of course, he obliged them, because it seems to be a favorite of his, as well:
“It’s been kinda this underground thing for a long time with people, and really gravitated towards this song. You can always see the look on people’s faces when we’re playin it’, how much they’re soakin’ that song in.
They’re really taking it internally in, and that’s, that was the reason we’re moving with this thing second.”
He’s referring to why they chose it as the second single to his Wild Ones record (though it ultimately didn’t even make the cut at all, unfortunately), and even though country radio might not have understood the song fully, there’s reason it remains a fan-favorite to this day.
I think so many people relate to his sentiment about growing up in church and experiencing it a certain way, especially in the South, and how it can have a huge impact on how you interpret the world as an adult.
And I’ll always be on board with the fact that, I really don’t wanna go to Heaven unless it’s got a dirt road, either…
Check out Kip telling the story behind the fantastic track:
And if you’ve never heard it before, you might just have a new favorite song: