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Thomas Rhett Opens Up About Life Changing Experience That Inspired New Song “Death Row” (Exclusive)

The track, which features Tyler Hubbard and Russell Dickerson, is featured on Rhett’s sixth studio album, “Where We Started,” which is available now.

Album Cover Courtesy of The Valory Music Co.

Country superstar Thomas Rhett is back and better than ever with his sixth studio album Where We Started.

Inspired by his return to the road after a two year long pandemic, the 15 track project, which is available for streaming beginning today (April 1), features repeat-worthy tunes along with exciting collaborations with artists like FGL’s Tyler Hubbard, Riley Green, Russell Dickerson and even Katy Perry.

One of the most sobering and conceptually unique songs on the record is Rhett’s collaboration with Hubbard and Dickerson titled “Death Row,” which tells the story of life’s lessons learned from a visit with inmates awaiting their death. Still trying to process his feelings and his experience from that day, the song is written about a real life experience shared between Rhett, Hubbard and Dickerson at men’s prison in Nashville, TN.

“I’m still sort of processing it to this day and I’m still trying to figure out how to explain what I felt that day,” Rhett tells Celeb Secrets Country reporter Mariah Crom during a media session. “We went and visited a men’s prison in Nashville last year with a friend of ours who does a prison ministry.”

“I honestly didn’t even know that that was a thing and I really didn’t want to go. I was kind of freaked out to be honest with you, but [Tyler] was really adamant about going so I went with him. We brought our guitars and we walked into this really heavy environment. I think our job that day was just to spread a little bit of joy and bring a little bit of light into a place that’s pretty dark,” he continued.

The Georgia native was surprised to find himself easily engaging in conversation about turkey season, fishing, college football and old country music like he would with friends he’d known for years and left that day with a much different perspective.

“I think ultimately what I learned that day was we’ve all made decisions in our lives that we wish we could take back and to not judge a book by its cover,” he said. “We get into that bridge by saying, ‘We can’t judge their soul.’ From a world perspective, that’s the worst thing you could ever do in life. They’re there for a reason. I’m not trying to get into anything I believe; all I know is that I left being like, “I thought those people were going to be monsters,’ and they turned out to be very remorseful, sadder than anyone I’ve ever met about something they’ve done in my life.”

“It made me look at my life and go, ‘Gosh, things I’ve done in my life to other people the I need to say sorry to, or people in my life that I need to forgive.’ So I didn’t really know how to register all of that except to write it and the only way I knew how to write it was to write it verbatim to how it happened.”

In addition to “Death Row,” another stand out song on the album is his title track and incredible yet left field collaboration with icon Katy Perry. Rhett humbly admits he was totally caught off guard when he was first approached with the idea [of Katy] and didn’t think the pop star would even know who he was. But as fate would have it, Perry responded immediately and loved the idea of the collaboration.

“That really caught me off guard and really came out of left field,” Rhett recalls. “I was like, ‘It doesn’t really fit with the other collaborators on this album and also she probably has no idea who I am and is probably not going to respond to this email. But you definitely should try.’ So my label group sent it to her, and she responded the next day and was talking about how much she resonated with the song. It wasn’t even 24 hours later that me and [Katy] were FaceTiming and she was asking, ‘What parts should I sing? She I take a chorus? I love this song and I feel it.’”

“It took her about a week to get the vocal back to me, and when I heard it, I I felt like it was supposed to be that way the entire time,” he continued. Since then, we’ve recorded a music video together — I finally got to meet her in person and she’s awesome to be around — and I’m excited to hear what people think of it. I think it’s a little bit of left field for me, but I believe that when people hear this song they’re going to really enjoy it.”

To cap off a thrilling release week, Thomas will takes fan from the songwriting room to the arena with Amazon Music Presents Thomas Rhett: The Live Experience later tonight. The event will stream live beginning at 7 p.m. CT via the Amazon Music channel on Twitch, on Prime Video, and within the Amazon Music mobile app via Twitch. Fans can also listen throughout the weekend as Thomas Rhett takes over SiriusXM’s The Highway ahead of his iHeartCountry Album Release Party on Monday, April 4th at 9 p.m. CT via iHeartRadio’s official YouTube channel and iHeartCountry Radio channel. He will also debut new songs on TODAY on Tuesday, April 5 and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, April 6.

In addition, fans will continue to have a front row seat to new music this year on Thomas Rhett’s headlining BRING THE BAR TO YOU TOUR – launching on June 17. Tickets are available at www.thomasrhett.com/tour

Are you enjoying Thomas Rhett’s new album? Let us know by either leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a tweet at @CS_Country.

LISTEN TO “WHERE WE STARTED” BELOW: 

Written by Mariah Crom

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