Brandon Rhyder has overcome a difficult health battle; after 18 years in the spotlight, the revered Texas singer-songwriter faced a downward spiral in 2012 when his health took a toll. Flu-like symptoms made it difficult for him to perform on stage and after countless doctor visits and unanswered questions, he decided to step away from music.
In 2017 he released a self-titled album but still struggled with his health. In January, Rhyder had a breakthrough when a doctor sent him 70 pages of confirmed food allergies. Now on a strict new diet, Rhyder is readying his return to music with the release of his 10th studio album, Main Street Crossing, out later this year. Today (Sept. 9), Billboard premieres the heartfelt first single “I Felt Good Today.”
A stirring song that touches upon the loss of a loved one, Rhyder tells Billboard the song came to him shortly after the loss of his father-in-law to cancer. Driving home from a gig in Galveston, Texas, the lyrics for “I Felt Good Today” flowed out effortlessly.
“I had been dealing with some health issues myself [and] there had been a dark cloud hanging over me for a while,” Rhyder tells Billboard. “The sun was out, and it was mild, in the 60s on this glorious January morning. I rode with the windows half down. Didn’t turn on the radio. I started singing the first words out loud and within a short amount of time, I had written the song in my head. I call that divine intervention. I sang it the rest of the way home.”
When Rhyder returned home, he grabbed his guitar and went into his bedroom to figure out the chords to the song. He then walked into the kitchen to play “I Felt Good Today” for his wife.
“When I finished, we cried both sad and happy tears. I feel honored to have written it,” he says. “I think everyone can relate. We all lose people we love. We all have to overcome the pain it causes. The journey continues and I find it comforting when there are days like that. Days when I know I can, and will, move forward. Gone but never forgotten.”
“I Felt Good Today” will be officially released on Sept. 13. Rhyder’s forthcoming live acoustic album is expected later this year.
Listen to “I Felt Good Today” below.