It’s been a decade since Chase Rice last teamed up with his Florida Georgia Line buddies to create the duo’s monster hit, “Cruise,” but that all changes with the release of a brand-new “porch song” called “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.”
His new single, Rice explains, was one that they started out thinking might simply be co-produced by FGL’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley. But the more they thought about it, the more they realized that the song had serious feature potential.
“It was Brian’s idea to possibly produce the song together…just get in there and have fun like we used to,” Rice recounts to Country Now. “And Brian texted me — literally, what he said was, ‘How we make this thing even bigger…How about a CR x FGL collab?’ With a weird emoji, or whatever.
The singer didn’t have to think twice. “I said, ‘Hell yeah.’ It’s been too long. It’s been 10 years since we made music together,” he remembers.
It’s especially fitting that this was the song that led Rice back to a creative partnership that had always been fruitful, and always felt like home. When he wrote it, the singer says, he was in a mindset of digging deeper and coming up with subject matter that felt true to him. He co-wrote the song with Corey Crowder, Hunter Phelps and Cale Dodds during the tail end of his 2019 fall tour, and it was the product of a writing session that didn’t start out easy.
“We were in the back of the bus, and we’d had about 45 minutes of that track playing, that you hear in the song. And we could not figure out to save our lives what to write that day,” Rice explains. “Corey just kept saying, ‘We need a porch song.’”
And they tested out some ideas, but nothing quite felt right. Rice was dead set against phoning in the writing process: If they were going to write a song, he thought, he wanted to really connect with the subject matter, and the four men just weren’t getting there.
“So we’re scrolling through, we chase a couple of ideas that were about a girl, and it’s just like, ‘Man, I’m tired of writing anything that I don’t give a s*** about,” he continues. “This is just gonna be the same old bulls***, guys.”
But then, he saw a title in his phone that made his eyes light up. “‘Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.’ As soon as I saw it, I was like, ‘Alright, I’m saying this, and if Corey doesn’t like it, I’m leaving the bus and we don’t need to write today,” he recounts.
Not only did Crowder like the song — “he flipped,” Rice remembers. It gelled perfectly with the “porch song” idea he’d been fixated on during the writing session that day. In December of 2019, the songwriters didn’t know it yet, but the idea of a “porch song” would take on entirely new meaning within a few months, once the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. and the country started closing down. All of the sudden, Rice wasn’t able to tour, his fans weren’t able to come out to see shows, and everyone, it seemed, was spending a whole lot more time on their porches — the singer included.
“[The song] couldn’t have been more perfect for what this year has been, which has been a lot of people sitting around fires. For myself, anyway, it’s been a lot of sitting around the dinner table,” he goes on to say. “Having new friends that I’ve never had before, having friends that I have had, but we’ve gone deeper. That’s what I love so much about this song, is that it’s celebrating 2020 for what it is, as opposed to what it wasn’t.”
In order to truly create a porch song, you need to have a relationship with a good porch. As it happens, Rice had just finished building a new porch at his house when the pandemic hit. In the months since, he’s got more of a chance to break it in than he bargained for. But he’s also had a lifelong relationship with porches, and the singer has very specific ideas about what the perfect porch should be.
“Well, it depends on whether it’s a front porch or a back porch. For me, those are very different things,” Rice laughs, explaining that he associates front porches with a very specific childhood memory with his grandfather. “I don’t remember what I was upset about, but I was upset about something. In, like, 8th grade. I ran off into the woods all upset, and I hear my grandpa come out and he starts yelling my name.”
Finally, Rice returned from out of the woods, and he and his grandpa sat down on their front porch to talk things out. “It was just me and him sitting on the front porch in those rocking chairs, so I think front porches should always have rocking chairs,” he explains. “I honestly couldn’t tell you what we talked about, but I knew that my grandpa was there, and that was special, and we were in rocking chairs.
Much like a classically-groomed mullet, front porches are for business — but back porches, Rice relates, are for partying. “I just think it should have a fireplace,” the singer says, stressing that you don’t always have to have deep and meaningful conversations to enjoy a night on your porch.
“Some of those nights have been absolute mayhem. But then you wake up the next day and you’re laughing at your buddy that’s passed out on the kitchen floor because he was too drunk to make it to a bed,” he points out. “It’s just memories that we’ve made, and some of them are absurd, but it’s all memories I never would have had if this year hadn’t happened the way it happened.”
All of Rice’s porch memories, directly or indirectly, have to do with the making of his new song. But one of them, he adds, is tied specifically to the songwriting process.
“I was sitting on my porch one morning, reading my message, my Bible…I had to send it in that day, what the song was gonna be titled,” he remembers. The original name had been “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen,” but during the collaboration process, they’d scrapped the “Amen” — something Rice was a little disappointed about.
“And the whole [Bible] message [that day] was on the word ‘Amen.’ Whether you believe in God or not, and I personally do, that was enough for me to be like, ‘Wow, okay. God showed up here today,’” he explains. “He not only showed up when we wrote the song, he not only showed up when [FGL and I] had the conversation of doing it together, but he also showed up on what the title needs to be.
“And I don’t fully know what that means yet. But God’s in this song,” Rice adds. “So I believe it’s gonna be very special.”