“I ride east every other Friday, if I had it my way, the day wouldn’t be wasted on this drive. I want so bad to hold you, so many things I haven’t told you, but your mom and me couldn’t get along…”
These are the words that start off the somber, reflective ballad “Highway 20 Ride.” Melodic and acoustic (with a stellar fiddle solo by ), this is a song written for and about a man who hates the fact that he and the mother of his child couldn’t get along enough to make their relationship work. Rather than be all ‘poor, poor pitiful me’ about the situation, Zac uses the song as a way to teach his son how much he does love him, even as he ‘slowly dies inside every time he turns the truck around’ the other way, after dropping the child off to his mother.
After three tempo-filled chart-topping hit singles that showcased the band’s sense of humor and ability to spin tales of everyday life, “Highway 20 Ride” is the song that should, for once and all, cement the Zac Brown Band’s status as the best band in country music. Their songs are real, organic and most of all, easily relatable. “Highway 20 Ride” is the kind of song that shows to fans and those skeptical about Zac Brown Band’s ability to make something that isn’t tempo-filled and ‘fun’, that they can do these songs with as much skill.
The story of “Highway 20 Ride” may start out heartbreaking but by the end of the song, it’s touching because it finds Zac explaining to his child why he continually did what he had to do, so that he could spend time with his child. While the single may not top the charts like “Toes” or “Chicken Fried” did, it does finally give country music their ‘new Alabama.’