Lyrics Uncovered: Brett Eldredge, ‘The Long Way’
Matt Rogers brought the seed of this eternal love tribute to the table during the two men's first meeting. Eldredge remembers being a little nervous, but quickly found excitement in this idea of bathing in the details of a new love's backstory. Her hometown, her parents' story and "your faults and your glories that made you who you are right now" — the narrator wants it all.
“In a world where we don’t have conversations anymore," Eldredge says, "I wanna sit down and have a conversation. Put away the phones, put away everything and I wanna get to know you as a person. I want to get to know your heart."
"Take me the long way around your town / Were you the queen with the silver crown / I want the secrets you keep / The shine underneath of the diamond I think I just found / Take me the long way around," Eldredge sings in "The Long Way" lyrics. It's his second single from his just-released Brett Eldredge album.
Rogers recalls that their biggest challenge wasn't opening their hearts to write about love. As a category, wedding and love songs are just hard. “I don’t know any other way to say it,” he tells Taste of Country. “They can get real cheese-d--k real soon with the wedding stuff. Sometimes it’s tough to skirt that line.”
He brought the idea of the long way to love and the "Wanna Be That Song" hitmaker added the tour of the town. In an effort to keep the song fresh in Eldredge's head, Rogers quickly cut a demo after their write and brought it back to him a week later. Much of what you hear on the final recording came from that demo recording, he says.
Rogers and Eldredge wrote "The Long Way" in August or September 2016 and a week later the songwriter got a call to do a road trip with the singer, who was touring with Keith Urban at the time. That trip came one week before Rogers' wedding, and he was hesitant to leave, but his fiancee (now wife) practically pushed him out the door. The dramatic "Cycles" was another reward for his hard work and sacrifice. Rogers shares Eldredge's commitment to both songs.
“Brett would write with me, then he would have to go soundcheck and do his show," he says. "He would come back on the bus and write with me when he was done with the show. And then he’d go out and sing with Keith and come back and write. he was so focused and so driven.”
The two men didn't ask many personal questions of each other during either co-write. Whether or not the singer had an idealized love in mind while suggesting his portions of "The Long Way" isn't clear to Rogers, but certain details definitely came from their raising. "I’m from northeast Pennsylvania and Brett is from Illinois, and I think when you’re from a place that has four seasons, fall is very beautiful," he says.
"Show me the field you danced in clovers / The harvest in October / When the leaves fall from the sky just like a Sunday drive," Eldredge sings to close the second verse of "The Long Way" lyrics.
While it wasn't clear to Rogers at the time, "The Long Way" would up setting the pace for a very vulnerable third album. This song and "Castaway" were two that reached for a depth even the singer wasn't aware of.
"I remember my manager calling me and saying, 'I’ve never heard you this vulnerable before,'" Eldredge tells Taste of Country. "And it’s not like I was scared to be that vulnerable I just don’t think I knew how to do it until having a couple records."
Indeed his first single "Something I'm Good At" is an outlier on an album that delves deep into his slow-to-open heart. Brett Eldredge is in stores and at digital retailers now.
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