Thomas Rhett is known for nostalgic, personal songs that think back to his younger years, but one track on Country Again: Side A looks to the future instead of the past. That’s “To the Guys That Date My Girls,” a song that imagines what home life might be like for Rhett in a decade or so, when he’s a dad to teenage daughters.
“Basically, this song is a letter to the guys who are gonna show up on my doorstep one day and be like, ‘Hey Mr. Akins, I’m here to take your daughter out on a date,’” Rhett told Country Now and other outlets at a recent virtual press event. “I’ve thought about all the ways I would approach that situation. Am I gonna be the super stern dad? Am I gonna be the dad that invites him in for a coffee? You know, what kind of conversation is that gonna be?”
The singer brought that topic to a writing session with co-writers Josh Thompson, Will Bundy and even his dad, Rhett Akins, who wrote on six of Country Again: Side A’s 11 tracks. They were at a tour stop in Birmingham, Alabama in 2019.
“And I remember that day…I knew we had something special because I played it in concert the same night we wrote the song. And I was just watching grown men, you know, hugging their daughters and crying,” Rhett continues. “It’s a song I’ll have blasting on the speakers the day that day comes, when someone comes over to my house and tries to take my kids on a date. I’ll just be playing that song in the background.”
The song might tackle new subject matter, but it’s a classic Thomas Rhett song in at least one big way: It speaks specifically to the singer’s personal life. That authenticity has been the singer’s signature ever since early hits like “Die a Happy Man,” and it allows listeners to connect to a song immediately, from the very first time they hear him play it.
That means that Rhett’s wife is frequently mentioned, even by name, in his songs. His three — and soon-to-be four, as the couple are expecting their newest baby girl in November — daughters frequently show up in his lyrics, too. The couple have gotten comfortable living their life very publicly, and Rhett says that his family members have veto power if any given subject is too personal to put into a song.
Still, he adds, that hasn’t come up very often. He and Lauren are intentional about their choice to share their life with their fans, and when it comes to being upfront about their challenges and victories as a family, they’re on the same page.
“I mean, when my wife put her book out [Live in Love, a memoir about her life and the couple’s marriage] — I think there’s not many layers that you don’t know about us at this point, if you’ve read Lauren’s book,” Rhett chuckles.
“I think that the more vulnerable we can be about our lives — hopefully somebody else who either hears a song or reads that book that is going through the same thing, can look at how we dealt with it, whether it was terribly or great, and be able to learn from it,” he goes on to say. “It’s become really fun to share deep stuff in my music.”
Seeing the impact of certain songs of his, like “Life Changes” or “Be a Light,” has only strengthened Rhett’s resolve to continue sharing his life through his music.
“I think you don’t realize the weight of music sometimes,” he reflects. “Like, I’ve listened to certain songs, and I’m like, ‘Man, this hit me at the perfect moment to [help me] deal with something in my life.’…The more vulnerable I can be and the more personal I can be, hopefully that can resonate with somebody else who might be going through something similar.”