Kelsea Ballerini recalls the day she wrote her new single "Cowboys Cry Too." She also remembers listening to her duet partner nervously share his lyrics.

"He opens his mouth and sings this whole verse and I just was like, 'Oh my gosh,'" Ballerini says of Noah Kahan, an artist she has long admired. Turns out the feelings were mutual.

  • "Cowboys Cry Too" is Ballerini's first song from an upcoming album that she says is complete.
  • Talking to Taste of Country Nights, she shared that it's the only collaboration on the new record.
  • The two singer-songwriters first met at the 2024 Grammys in Los Angeles, but they did have one remarkable exchange prior.

Specifically, Kahan's lyric "You can't outdrive pain / Somebody's gotta take the wheel," hit Ballerini's heart.

"It’s true!" she tells Evan Paul. "If you don’t deal with the things that are living inside of you and your emotions and your traumas and your past and whatever it is, it manifests in your life somehow."

The full interview will be available at Taste of Country's YouTube channel at 4PM CT on Thursday (June 27).

Kelsea Ballerini, Noah Kahan, "Cowboys Cry Too" Lyrics:

"I wrote the chorus on my back porch last November ... and I love the idea of writing the song from a female perspective, kind of tackling toxic masculinity," she shares of the fiddle-led, somber love song.

"Then as I was making the whole record and kind of putting the puzzle together, I was like, 'Man, if we could have a male perspective on this who's willing to go there and really be emotionally available to write his perspective into the song, that’d be amazing.'"

Flip through Ballerini's June 25 Instagram post to get to her enjoying a clip of the song.

Kahan proved to be the man for the job. He wrote his part while touring earlier this year, and the two hit the studio together just before their performance at the 2024 ACM Awards. The initial greeting came a few months earlier. Once again, Ballerini DM'd someone at random to get the conversation started.

"You gotta shoot your shot, apparently," she cracks, thinking of how she did likewise with boyfriend Chase Stokes. She also sent Kenny Chesney a very late-night text to see if he'd join her on "Half of My Hometown."

Related: Kelsea Ballerini + Chase Stokes 'I Love You' Story Is the Sweetest!

At the Grammys, Ballerini spotted Kahan and fan-girled him a bit.

"He was like, 'Kelsea, how long ago did you put out 'Peter Pan?' Immediately, I'm like 'Oh my God, he knows me!'"

Once again, Ballerini worked with Alysa Vanderheym on an album. The two women made her popular Rolling Up the Welcome Mat EP together.

Kelsea Ballerini
He’s as tough as the tattoos on his right arm / I’ve talked him down from getting in a fight or two / He stands his ground, he’s stubborn as the weeds in the back yard.

'Cause growing up he had to go where the wind blew / He hides his heart and her because he kind of had too / In a world that says saddle up and be a man / When the sun goes down and his hazel eyes go blue / That’s when I understand.

Chorus:
Cowboys cry too / They may not let ‘em fall down in their hometown thinking they still got s—t to prove / That well runs deep / But when he’s showing his skin, letting me in, that’s when he’s toughest to me / I never knew / Cowboys cry too.

Noah Kahan
I grew up wishing I could close off the way my dad did / Cause that man never felt a damn thing he didn’t wanna feel / But I’ve burned too many miles trying to ride out all the sadness / But you can’t outdrive pain, someday it’s gonna take the wheel.

Can’t be in love, didn’t wanna get close to anybody / Don’t wanna bare teeth, but don’t wanna look weak, it’s a tough spot / But I’m afraid you’ll walk away when the tears start running / But I hope not.

Repeat Chorus

Blame it on their fathers / The ones that said they’d stay / Blame it on the songs that tell you they all ride away / I ain’t that way.

Billy Dukes is a Senior Editor and Executive Producer of Video Content at Taste of Country. He specializes in country music interviews, trend analysis and the Secret History of Country Music. Additionally, Billy covers Yellowstone, 1923 and related television shows through the Dutton Rules podcast. To date, he's written more than 13,000 articles for Taste of Country and produced over 3,000 videos for the Taste of Country YouTube channel.

Kelsea Ballerini & Chase Stokes Sizzle in Matching Red VMAs Looks

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes hit the red carpet at the 2023 VMAs, and they really looked good!

Gallery Credit: Jess

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