Jordan Davis, his brother Jacob Davis and brothers Matt and Josh Jenkins went on a writers’ retreat in Murfreesboro, Tenn., in 2020. Typically, the men would bring song ideas to such a meeting, but this time, they arrived at the cabin they rented with a different set of goals. They wanted to wake up every day, drink coffee, start talking and see what happened.
On the first day, Davis said Josh led the group in a spiritual conversation about being planted deep and having solid roots so one can withstand the storms of life.
“That was really where ‘Buy Dirt’ started,” Davis said. “We started hammering away on that.”
About 18 months later, “Buy Dirt” is poised to be Davis’ fourth No. 1 song. The Louisiana native will perform the song when he makes his debut on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Friday.
Davis knew the ballad about prioritizing family over wealth was meaningful as soon as they finished writing it. The writers’ initial idea was pitch “Buy Dirt” to Bryan to record. Davis went back to his room and couldn’t stop listening to the voice memo recording of the song on his phone. The following day, he woke up and knew he couldn’t give the music away. Davis told his friends he wasn’t sure when he was going back into the studio but that when he did, he knew he wanted to record “Buy Dirt.” The singer had already imagined Bryan’s voice on the song while they were writing it, and he said he “couldn’t get it out of his head.” When he got back to Nashville, Davis texted Bryan the song.
“I told him how much this song meant to me and that I would love for him to be a part of it,” Davis explained. “I said, ‘You don’t have to get back to me. If it feels like something you wanna do, reach out. If not, no worries.'”
Bryan texted him back immediately and said he loved it. The men immediately started to coordinate schedules to go into the studio and record it. Davis said it feels like the biggest song of his career so far, and Bryan said he’s just happy Davis reached out.
“I think ‘Buy Dirt’ would’ve been amazing for Jordan Davis whether I’m on it or not,” Bryan told 94.3 Kat Country. “I don’t want anybody patting me on the back for it. I want people celebrating Jordan Davis for writing an amazing song.”
The country music community agrees with Bryan. “Buy Dirt” earned a Vocal Event of the Year nomination at the 55th CMA Awards, which was Davis’ first CMA nod. The song has accumulated 250 million global streams and has been inside the Top 200 country streaming chart since its release 32 weeks ago and inside the Top 5 for 14 weeks.
Davis said watching fans react to it every night is beyond anything he’s experienced before, too.
“It just means more because it came from a really honest place,” he explained. “There are so many things with this song that we don’t normally have. We wake up, and we co-write every day. We meet new people, and Nashville songwriters can get vulnerable quickly. But a song like this, which is what my core values are in my world, is tough to write with two or three people you just met. It was just a blessing that I was with those guys when that idea came into the room. That’s why I’m super grateful for Matt, Josh and my brother.”
“Buy Dirt” is the title track from Davis’ current EP. While he’s known for more light-hearted fare, such as his debut chart-topper “Singles You Up,” Davis said fans should expect to hear more mature songs from him that reflect his current stage of life – a happily married father of two young children.
“A lot of those early songs were written when I was single,” Davis said. “I definitely wasn’t writing about kids or buying dirt and starting the life that I wanted to start. I’m just at a totally different spot in my life now.”
But there’s more to his previous hits than his bachelor status. Davis moved to Nashville to be a songwriter, so he wrote commercial contemporary country hits. He didn’t know “Singles You Up” and “Take It From Me” would launch his career as a country singer.
“I backed into the artistry side of this,” he explained. “Now, especially coming off so much time alone and so much time to grow and now having two kids, I feel like I have even more of a platform to write the kind of music that I want to write.”
Davis kept his family in mind every time he entered a songwriting session. He wanted to be 100 percent authentic to who he is because he knows there are people out there just like him who want to know others are going through the same life experiences.
That doesn’t mean he’s going to stop writing the sing-along ditties that fire his crowd up every time he steps on stage. He’s not and promises, “those are never gonna go away.” Davis is just more willing to lean into the heart of his life – and when he saw his fans connect with “Buy Dirt,” he knew they were ready for it, too. He watched it happen as soon as he shared a short snip of the song on Instagram. He debuted “Buy Dirt” on stage at the Carolina Music Fest in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
“I’ve never had a first-time live song reaction like that,” he said. “And it just grew every single night to where now, we’re two or three songs into the set and everybody out there’s chanting ‘Buy Dirt,’ and we still have an hour and 30 minutes to go. I’m just so happy that it is doing what it’s doing, it’s a song that I love so much with, and I wrote it with guys that I loved to death.”