Nashville songwriting circles are well known for oftentimes being as tiresome as they are necessary. For Brantley Gilbert and HARDY, the session that yielded the former’s collaboration with the latter — and Toby Keith — for new single “The Worst Country Song of All Time” was a “goofy” moment turned very serious that has yielded what could be the surprise country music hit of 2021.
“It was a goofy riff on an idea Hardy had,” says Gilbert in regards to the songwriting session with the duo, Hunter Phelps and Will Weatherly. But when BMLG label head Scott Borchetta thought it was a great idea, and Toby Keith was available for a “veteran co-sign,” the song came to life. “I think HARDY and I, and Toby, are all still kinda waiting on the phone call from somebody, going, ’Obviously, we were kidding — we’re not putting that song out,'” the singer joked during a Taste of Country Nights appearance. “That phone call has yet to come.”
Regarding working with Keith on the track, Gilbert continued, “Knowing Toby for as long as I have, touring with him, and we’ve never done a song together! So to be on a song with him, I think HARDY and I are both just freaking over the moon about it…We threw a couple other names around if Toby were to have said no — which, I thought there was gonna be a pretty decent chance he was gonna be like, ’Yeah, I’m not doing that.’ But he was obviously down, and knocked it out of the park.”