Music

'Bless The Broken Road': The Rascal Flatts Hit Had its Own Journey Before Reaching the Trio 

Associated Press

"Bless The Broken Road" was one of the biggest hits of Rascal Flatts' 20-year career and is still a song worth looking back on as an influential moment in country music. The song, released as a single in 2004, helped shoot the group to superstardom, spending five weeks atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and taking home a Grammy Award for Best Country Song. In the tune, versatile lead singer Gary LeVox sings about being thankful for all the wrong turns, long lost dreams, and heartache that eventually led him to the person he's truly meant to be with. He sends this thankfulness not only to his soulmate, but to God, who blessed the "broken road" he took to true love.

 

It's hard to imagine that "Bless The Broken Road" could belong to any band or artist other than Rascal Flatts, but the song actually had a few other lives before it found its way to the group. The tune was written by Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Jeff Hanna in 1994, ten years before it was released to radio by the Flatts. According to The Boot, the song was written after Hanna returned from his honeymoon with his wife, singer-songwriter Matraca Berg, in '94. He and Hummon were chatting about the paths one takes in life, and Hummon brought more inspiration for the song that he got from a conversation with Bobby Boyd. Hanna said the entire song took them "a couple of hours" to write. 

 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band then recorded it and put it on their 1994 album, Acoustic, but never released it as a single. Nitty Gritty Dirt band's version is similar to Rascal Flatts' in that the production is piano-heavy, but it does not feature the slight banjo and electric guitar elements heard in the 2004 version. One year after Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released their version, one of the song's other songwriters, Marcus Hummon, released his own version for his 1995 debut album, All In Good Time. Later, country group Sons Of The Desert recorded an unreleased version of the song and Melodie Crittenden also recorded the song. 

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"Bless The Broken Road" was clearly a popular song in Music City. In fact, Hanna told The Boot the song was held a total of 150 times, including by Brooks & Dunn, but it just couldn't seem to find its home. Rascal Flatts were interested in the song long before they committed to it as well. Hanna said they "toyed with" putting it on their first album, and they even held the track for their second project. Then, when it came time to ready their third album, Feels Like Today, Hanna got the news that it would be recorded and released to radio. 

The Platinum tune went down as one of Rascal Flatts' most successful and recognizable hits, and it will certainly be remembered at the top of the band's musical legacy. 

'Bless the Broken Road' lyrics :

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you
That every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Yes, He did
I think about the years I spent just passin' through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there, you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Yeah
And now I'm just a-rollin' home
Into my lover's arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, mm, mm

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'Bless The Broken Road': The Rascal Flatts Hit Had its Own Journey Before Reaching the Trio