BY LORIE LIEBIG
When Lee Brice released “I Drive Your Truck” in 2012, country fans immediately reacted to its heartbreaking lyrics. The song perfectly conveys the intense urge to connect with a lost loved one in any way that you can to regain a feeling of closeness with that person. The powerful song was created by Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary during a group songwriting session.
During their meeting, Harrington recalled a story she had heard on NPR’ s Here And Now about a father whose son, Jared C. Monti, had died while saving another soldier during a battle in Afghanistan. When asked how he would remember his child on Memorial Day, the man simply said that he would drive his truck, which had been left exactly as it was when his son left for war.
The moment stuck with Harrington and led her to suggest it as a song idea. The three spent the session coming up with the powerful lyrics and imagery that would eventually garner critical acclaim for the single. “We all cried at some point,” Harrington told Radio.com of the session. “And when it was over, there was just a communal prayer of, let’s make sure we get this to the right person to sing it.”
When Brice was presented with the song for the first time, it drove him to tears.“It slayed me, floored me,” Brice said. “And I immediately thought about my grandaddy. It wasn’t even about his military side, it was just about him — a dairy farmer, driving his truck around.”
That connection comes through Brice’s powerful rendition of the song that quickly climbed to number one. When his label threw a party in Nashville to celebrate the song’s success, Brice flew out Monti’s father, Paul, to join the festivities. It was a full-circle moment for the father who now has another special way to remember his son.