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Story Behind the Song: Brooks & Dunn, ‘You Can’t Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl’

In September of 2003, Brooks & Dunn released a single titled “You Can’t Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl.” Written by Bob DiPiero and Bart Allmand, the song was the second single from Brooks & Dunn’s Red Dirt Road album, and it hit the Top 5 (No. 3) in early 2004.

Below, DiPiero explains to The Boot the inspiration for the hit tune.

I’m such a TV and movie junkie; I’m addicted to the moving images on those screens! I went to see this movie called Sweet Home Alabama. I didn’t like this movie, because it seemed to be every kind of country cliche and redneck cliche; I thought it was about as original as a piece of toast! [Laughs]

It just made me mad, because I’m not from the South, but I got here as soon as I could; I kind of took offense to it. So I was getting up to leave the theater, and one of the characters in the movie was talking about some redneck girl and said, “Well, you can take the girl out of the honky-tonk, but you can’t take the honky-tonk out of the girl.” I was literally walking out of the theater and went, “Well, that is interesting!” [Laughs]

When I was writing with my co-writer, Bart Allmand, I just invented this story about this girl; the model for this story lives in Branson, Mo., and she’s that girl in the song. We just took off on this story and came up with this song.

It’s got a cool Keith Richards / country / rockin’ thing that Brooks & Dunn do so well. The song just grew its own wings and flew up the charts.

This story was originally written by Alanna Conaway, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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