Thomas Rhett Talks Creating ‘Where We Started’ and Beating Writer’s Block 

The project showcases Rhett’s musical diversity. 

Thomas Rhett Talks Creating ‘Where We Started’ and Beating Writer’s Block 
Thomas Rhett: Where We Started Album Art

Thomas Rhett released his sixth studio album, Where We Started, on Friday, April 1. The 15-track project follows his 2021 album, Country Again: Side A, and precedes Country Again: Side B, which is set to be released later this year. With three new albums being released within a couple of years, it’s hard to believe this era of music came after a season of writer’s block for the singer, but Rhett says that’s exactly what happened. 

“2019 was the year that I started to really have a lot to say, and mid-2019, I thought I had nothing left to say,” Rhett shared with reporters, including Sounds Like Nashville. “So, I took six or eight months off of writing, period, because I felt like at this point, how else do you say, ‘I love you?’ How else do you talk about heartbreak? I had a bit of writer’s block, if you will.” 

“Maybe it was becoming a dad and I started to kind of realize how much of an impact my kids were having on my creativity because you just hang out with kids for 20 minutes, and they’re coming up with ways to have fun, they’re coming up with adventures outside,” he continues. “I think my creativity was re-sparked by them.” 

Thomas Rhett: Where We Started Album Art

Once Rhett’s creativity was sparked yet again, the flame didn’t burn out, and he ended up with 190 new songs waiting for release. After sharing many new songs with fans on social media during 2020, he released Country Again: Side A in April 2021. This album marked a return to Rhett’s roots, with many tracks featuring a stripped-down, traditionally-leaning version of his music. On Where We Started, however, Rhett offers the best of both worlds, combining acoustic-driven, thoughtful ballads with tour-ready summer hits. 

“There are tracks on there that scream three chords and the truth, but then there’s also some diversity for people who may want to move,” Rhett explains. “I feel like we put something on here for everybody and every age group.” 

Although Where We Started features plenty of fast-paced songs, the project starts off with “The Hill,” a warm, committed love song penned by Lori McKenna, Emily Weisband and Jordan Reynolds. Rhett then establishes the fun nature of the album with “Church Boots,” “Bass Pro Hat” and “Anything Cold.” Towards the middle of the project, Rhett gets serious with “Death Row,” a collaboration with Tyler Hubbard and Russell Dickerson written after the artists’ visit to a prison. Rhett says he came out of the experience with a new perspective, and the song helped him process what he witnessed after talking with inmates. 

“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 that they had done in their life,’” Rhett shares of the experience. “It made me look at my life and go, ‘Are there people that I need to say sorry to? Are there people that I need to forgive?’ I didn’t really know how to register all of that except for to write, and the only way I knew how to write it was to write it verbatim of how it happened.” 

As the project continues, Rhett shares sweet nostalgia and comments on the full circle nature of life in “Mama’s Front Door.” He then reflects on a flash-in-the-pan romance in current single, “Slow Down Summer.” As for what inspired the sound of the album, Rhett says he was influenced by a wide range of music — from the stone-cold country of George Jones to the smooth sounds of Frank Sinatra. The latter comes out in the dreamy “Us Someday,” which employs orchestral strings as Rhett imagines the life he and his loved one will have together. 

In addition to his collaboration with Hubbard and Dickerson, Rhett teams up Riley Green in the ‘90s country-flavored “Half of Me.” Rhett then closes out the record with the title track, a star-studded collaboration with Katy Perry. The two combine their voices to tell the story of a forever romance, while strings and modern beats accompany them. 

“It took her about a week to get the vocal back to me, and when I heard it, it just felt like it was supposed to be that way that entire time,” Rhett says of the duet. “Since then, we’ve recorded a music video together, and I finally got to meet her in person. She’s awesome to be around, super hard worker, and just an insanely talented vocalist and performer.”