Zac Brown Band, ‘Colder Weather’ — Story Behind the Song
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The Boot sat down with songwriter Wyatt Durrette to discuss the Zac Brown Band‘s hit single, ‘Colder Weather.’ Wyatt started the song, but it soon turned into a group collaboration with ZBB members Zac Brown and Coy Bowles, as well as Southern Ground Records artist Levi Lowrey.
There was a girl I was seeing, who lived in Kansas City. We really liked each other, but geography and timing just wasn’t working for us. She was getting pretty frustrated with the whole thing and wanted me to slow down, as far as traveling so much and all those things. I wasn’t willing to do that because we were just getting started, and I’m chasing my dreams.
I was going to see her. We were in Green Bay, Wisc., playing a show with Little Big Town, and it was pouring down snow. We were supposed to go to Kansas City the next day for some radio thing, but the radio people canceled. Instead, we just went on to wherever we were going next. I had to call her and tell her that I wasn’t going to make it. She was not a happy camper. She let me have it. I hung up the phone, walked on the bus and wrote the chorus and the melody to the chorus.
Me and Zac worked on the first chorus together. I knew the song was special. You can just tell as a writer when you’ve written something that has a chance to be big or special. I knew that one was.
I sat on the song for six months after that. I did what I always do: sing it to the guys and say, “What do you think of this?” And they’ll go, “Oh yeah, that’s great!”
Levi Lowrey is one of the best artists I know. He’s a poet. I felt like this song needed the way he wrote, so I invited Levi over to my house one night, and we wrote the rest of the verses. It turned out great. It was so weird because that same night, Coy, our guitar player, stopped by. He was just coming by my house to say hey. He didn’t know we were writing. He sat down and was listening to us write the verses, and he said, “How about a bridge?” He read one to us, and we were like, “Hell yeah! That’s perfect!” [Laughs] So we stuck that in there, and I brought all that to Zac. Zac and I finished writing the alternate chorus in the end.
That one’s special to all of us. It holds a spot because of what we do and being away and all those things. For those guys, I think that song rings on missing their family. That’s the beauty of art: Everybody has their own take on what the song can mean. As for me, it’s a story of impossible love, where geography or timing gets in the way of it, and it’s just not possible.