Colt Ford is optimistic that 2012 will be a great year, but he's quick to admit that 2011 wasn't so bad either.
"Obviously, 2011 was a huge year for me as a songwriter, having two number ones, including arguably the biggest song of the year," he says of his hand in co-writing "Dirt Road Anthem" for Jason Aldean and "Country Must Be Country Wide" by Brantley Gilbert. "It's been unbelievable. I'm just trying to do my thing."
Ford, whose new disc "Declaration of Independence" comes out May 1, shared with Billboard the story of how "Dirt Road Anthem" came to be.
"Brantley brought the idea for my record. We were going to write with the same guy who helped write 'Country Must Be Country Wide,' Mike Dekle. I met him early for lunch, and he said 'I've got this idea, and started chillin' on this guitar part. Twenty-five minutes later, the song was there. We liked it, but we didn't think anyone else would care. We recorded it for the album, and the next thing I knew, people were freaking out over it. Then, we were opening for Jason, and he asked '10,000 people are out there singing this song. How do they know it?' I told him I didn't know either -- Internet, and it just became a viral thing. He said 'I want to cut it,' and the rest is history."
When asked about his upcoming album, Ford said "It's just kind of a statement. I'm going back to the sound of the first record. I tried to make a lot of people happy over the last couple of years, and they were great records -- I wasn't disappointed about anything I had done, but if the song's 4:36, then that's what it is, instead of all these rules -- it needs to be this, it needs to be that," he said, also allowing that he collaborated with many of Nashville's most prolific tunesmiths for the album.
"I wrote with Jeffrey Steele, Craig Wiseman, Rodney Clawson, David Lee Murphy, and told them 'There's nothing we can't do or say. I'm just going to be open and honest, because that's what my fans like. I think this will be the best record I've ever recorded."
He also has lent his name to "Goodtime," a new brand of moonshine made in his home state. "There's a company called Georgia Distilling Company, which is a beverage company in Georgia. They approached me to be a part of this new moonshine brand. I told them 'If you want me to be a part of it, it needs to be real, and it needs to be authentic, because that's who I am. It's what I stand for. It took us over a year to get it cleared with the government to get it approved. It's the only true moonshine that is made on the market for sale. It's made with sugar, and made from a still. People are loving it."
On April 6, Ford will hit the road on tour with The Lacs, JB and the Moonshine Band, Rehab and Lenny Cooper in Albany, GA. He is very proud of the amount of talent on the ticket, as well as the price of the ticket. "I don't think we're smarter than anyone else, we just do things a little differently than everyone else. I'm doing my own tour around it -- fields, expo centers, but I have so many kids that wanted to see what I do that I needed to have it where they could come. I've got a family friend zone, and there's a section for the rowdy ones. But, the main thing is that it's a $25 ticket. You're going to see four or five acts on one ticket for 25 bucks. I had to have that. I truly appreciate what other artists do, but when tickets start to get $75-80, working folks can't afford to take their families to go see a show. They just can't do that."