At the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic, singer-songwriter Jeff Crosby found renewal and inspiration in the wilds of his home state of Idaho. It was there that he wrote his new single, "Runnin' Free," premiering exclusively with The Boot.

Crosby now splits his time between Boise and Nashville, Tenn., but as the pandemic began in early 2020, he moved from Music City to the mountains of the Gem State. "[I] figured if the world was gonna end or I was gonna be stuck somewhere, I wanted it to be in Valley County, where I grew up," Crosby says.

"I go back to Idaho to write all the time," he explains, "but, obviously, there was a different feeling this time around. Strangest part about it is, you don’t really feel like you’re connected to the rest of the world up there, so we ended up spending a ton of time wandering around in the woods, hangin' out by the reservoir and playing music with old friends."

Crosby penned several songs during that time, then road-tripped to Portland, Ore., in June, to record the majority of the song with Gregg Williams, who plays drums on it. The pair sent the track to fellow artist Jonathan Tyler, who pumped up the production (hear that xylophone? That was Tyler's doing) and recorded Reckless Kelly member Cody Braun's mandolin and fiddle lines.

"Every time I close my eyes, I'm back in 83615 and runnin' free," Crosby repeats in each chorus, nodding to the Idaho ZIP code in which he grew up. Explains the singer, "For me, this song was an attempt to keep my spirits high in the midst of so much uncertainty, and just look around and be grateful for where I was and enjoy and reminisce being home again."

"Runnin' Free" is due out widely on Friday (May 7). It's one of several songs that will appear on a forthcoming new EP from Crosby, unAmerican, the follow-up to his latest album, 2020's Northstar.

Listen to Jeff Crosby's "Runnin' Free":

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