Josh Abbott Band
Eric Morales

Josh Abbott Band Releases 'Free-Spirited' Anthem 'She'll Always Be' Ahead of New Album [Premiere]

A song for ‘every little girl out there with big dreams.’

When Josh Abbott sat down to write what would become his song "She'll Always Be," he didn't know the meaningful life it would soon take on. He certainly didn't know how much it would mean to a special someone in his own family. 

Premiering today (Jan. 5) on Wide Open Country, "She'll Always Be" is the final preview of Josh Abbott Band's forthcoming album, Somewhere Down the Road, available everywhere on Jan. 26. Abbott co-wrote the song with collaborators Grant Gilbert and Neil Medley. He tells Wide Open Country Gilbert came into the session with a singular idea: a picture in his mind's eye about a flower growing through the concrete. From there, the song was born. 

What resulted is a story about a young woman navigating the road of life with confidence and independence. Throughout the song, Abbott sings of her unapologetic traits and the unmatched potential her future holds. The tune is packed with strong imagery and metaphors to accomplish this message. At the center of these themes is the image of the wildflower, which sums up the main character's unpolished, but persevering spirit.

"She's a wildflower / Growing up through the cracks in the concrete / She's a wildflower / Wild and free / She'll always be," Abbott sings in the chorus.

Other strong lines in the song include: "She's a long way from where she's going," "She's in the middle of a song she's still writing," and "A little sunshine on her shoulders is all she really needs." The lyrics are bolstered by the band's traditional Texas country sound, featuring fiddle at the front of the mix. Piano, bass, percussion and more elements also fill out the song. 

Gilbert — whom Abbott sees as a "little brother" — was originally set to record the song, but when it didn't make his project, it fell into Abbott's hands. Once Abbott recorded the song, it quickly found its first fan in the singer's 6-year-old daughter, Emery. 

"When I got mixes back and I was listening to them, I was letting my daughter listen along," Abbott says. "She said, 'Daddy, this song's about me, huh?' And it's like, 'Yes it is.' It's one of those, 'Yep, it's your song now.' I wish that I had written that song by myself with her in mind. It's not necessarily how the song was created, but as soon as she said that I realized, 'This song is for her and every little girl out there with big dreams.'" 

After Emery latched onto the song, it gave Abbott hope that parents and women and girls of all ages may extract the same inspiration from the tune. 

"I would imagine most dads and moms out there feel that way about their little girl," Abbott says. "Whether that little girl is 3 or 6 or 18, I think there's just something super cute about that concept — about chasing your dreams and being free spirited, being grounded, being confident in yourself." 

"This isn't a girl in search of who she is," he adds. "This is a girl discovering life." 

The song's message fits seamlessly with the cover art of the band's Somewhere Down the Road album. The cover shows a winding, seemingly never-ending road running through the desert and into the sky. And it was a long road that led the band to this particular album. 

After the release of their 2020 album, The Highway Kind, the band wrote and recorded an entirely new project that was supposed to serve as their seventh studio album. However, when Abbott began dissecting the project, he realized something wasn't right, and it was scrapped. 

Abbott attributes his discontent with the album to song selection, saying most of the tracks were "hooky" radio-ready songs. After working towards mainstream radio success throughout their career, Abbott realized he had new goals in mind for the band.

"We're just not that band that's going to get national radio play right now," Abbott says, candidly. "We have to accept that as a band. We've had that in moments throughout our career, but we're not on a record label, we're about to be in year 16 of touring, so it's okay to go, 'Hey, we're in a new stage of our career.' We don't have to put out 10 songs that sound like radio songs hoping that, magically, one of them lands on there. We can just record an album of stuff that we like." 

With the exception of the rowdy "Barstool Boys," Somewhere Down the Road is full of new material as well as songs Abbott wrote nearly 10 years ago, but never released. The title track is one of these returning songs, written with Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Jon Randall about the music industry. 

"This record is really some stuff I wanted to get off my chest," Abbott says of the album. "Some songs where I really wanted to vent a little bit." 

A few songs on the album may lean more Alt country or Americana than fans are used to, but Abbott says he's excited to release a project full of tracks he truly loves. Of course, he'd also welcome radio play — particularly for "She'll Always Be" — but he's content either way. 

"I'm just happy that we recorded a really pretty song," he says of "She'll Always Be."  "I was fortunate enough to write one with two of my friends, my daughter loves it, and now I'm talking to you. I'd say all of those are pretty good wins." 

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