Songwriter Spotlight: Dallas Davidson Says He’s Just ‘Misunderstood’
Dallas Davidson has written or co-written hundreds of songs that have landed on dozens of albums by Nashville’s top artists, from traditionalists like Jamey Johnson to ultra-mainstream best friend Luke Bryan. Close to 50 percent of those cuts have been picked as singles; many, many of those have been hits; and 22 in particular have gone all the way to Number One, including “That’s My Kind of Night” and “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” for Bryan, “Boys ‘Round Here” for Blake Shelton, and “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” for Randy Houser.
But the song the Georgia native most identifies with at the moment is one he didn’t even write — “Mr. Misunderstood” by Eric Church.
“Absolutely, I’m misunderstood,” says Davidson emphatically, noting he cranks up the tune whenever he hears it on the radio. “I think people have an assumption about me that I’m all about commercial, and I can say, I’m naturally commercial. I don’t try to do that, it just comes out that way.”
Songs like the aforementioned hits and others, including Bryan’s current chart-climber “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Everyday,” which feature lyrics about rural life, come naturally to Davidson and his co-writers the way opining about love does to other songwriters.
Davidson, a late bloomer who didn’t pick up a guitar until 24 and came to Nashville in 2004, two years after his hometown buddy Bryan, believes being pigeon-holed by the sound of his hits as opposed to judged for the breadth of his catalog is not an anomaly. “I think most songwriters are misunderstood, I’m not singling myself out. The ones that are making money — if I’m being honest — we’re all misunderstood because people hate on you, that’s just the nature of the beast. It doesn’t matter if I sold real estate” — which Davidson used to do. “If you’re on top of your game,” he says, “people are going to hate on you.”
Indeed, everyone loves to pick on the Peach Picker — the name of his songwriting trio with fellow Georgians Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip. But Davidson has made peace with people criticizing the sometimes formulaic quality of his hit songs or saying things like he’s “ruining country music.”
“If I worried about that, I might as well go dive off the Flint River Bridge because I hear that shit every day,” he says.
The burly tunesmith and sometime performer admits that he wasn’t always so Zen about the flack he received, or the fact that he could co-write a song like “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” with Johnson and Houser but only his credibility seemed to take a hit for it with the purists.
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