Zac Brown Band, ‘Highway 20 Ride’ — Story Behind the Song
Songwriter Wyatt Durrette tells The Boot about the tear-jerking inspiration behind the Zac Brown Band‘s fourth single off their platinum-selling ‘Foundation’ album, ‘Highway 20 Ride.’ Wyatt was also Zac’s co-writer on the band’s first three No. 1 hits, ‘Chicken Fried,’ ‘Whatever It Is’ and ‘Toes.’
‘Highway 20 Ride’ is a song I started writing when I was probably a year into making the drive from Atlanta to Augusta, Ga. [to see my son]. I had gone through a divorce. She moved back to where she was from in South Carolina, and the halfway point was Augusta. I was bartending and took every other weekend off to spend time with him. It was a very painful time in my life, not having enough time together and having to bring him back. I worried about how he will perceive me as a father. Am I doing the right thing? I was going through all the things everybody goes through in that situation.
That song started on Interstate 20 in Georgia. I brought [what I had started] to Zac. He was there as a friend. He went through it with me on my end. He is also a son of the same situation — a divorce — with his father. He saw the other side, so it wasn’t a hard song for him to help me write. He sings it with a lot of passion. He was there as a child, and he was there when I was going through it.
I now refer ‘Highway 20 Ride’ as a love song to my kid to let him know I’ll always be there no matter how far we travel. I just try to give him love and respect and let him know he is loved. No matter what, [his mother and I] are both there because we care about him. He didn’t do anything to deserve it. Through love, communication and respect for each other, it can be okay.