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Rhett Akins is a country singer-songwriter who hails from Georgia. Today, his 1994 song “That Ain’t My Truck” was a smash hit and has since become a country classic. The singer’s sweetheart resolves to choose between him and another guy she’s been dating. So he drives by her house and gets his answer: “That Chevy 4×4 says it all, sitting in my place.”

On a recent interview, Akins revealed the tale of heartbreak was based on a true story. “The good thing for me is that country music thrives on heartache.”

He continued, “This was a true story. It happened a long time ago. I was in high school when this thing happened.” He figures he was 17 during that unceremonious breakup. But at first, he didn’t think to turn his pain into art.

Singer Rhett Akins sings during a San Jose concert and plays the guitar
Rhett Akins 1995 concert | Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images

Fast-forward seven years to 1994 and Akins had a record deal, but no songs written. The label gave him six months to just write and see what he came up with. So he sat down with two Nashville songwriters: Tom Shapiro and Chris Waters. The truth is that they had never worked together before that day. Akins said, “It was a get to know you session more than anything.”

The three men began talking about relationship and Akins said, “I remember this time I was at football camp. Of course back then we didn’t have cellphones or anything. You couldn’t keep up with who you were dating. It was just like, ‘I’m at football camp, you’re at the beach, I’ll see you in two weeks.’ When camp was over, I drove by the girl’s house because I hadn’t seen her in two weeks, and there was another pickup truck sitting in her drive.”

The guys asked what Akins did. He realized he could have gone inside and probably gotten into a fight. But instead he just said, “That ain’t my truck” and kept on driving. The songwriters looked at him and asked, “What did you just say?” They knew then that they had country gold on their hands.

By the end of the next day, they had the song finished.

Akins admits that by today’s standards, that’s a long writing session. Teams tend to finish songs in three hours. But he says it can be a good thing to spend multiple days on a song. He played the first verse and chorus for his producer and was told to stop right there. “This is happening, we’re recording this.”

That humble “get to know you session” resulted in a song that spent 21 weeks at U.S. Billboard’s hot country songs, peaking at number three.

Next, find out the true road trip route from Wagon Wheel, or you see the music video for “That Ain’t My Truck” below: