Country duo Maddie & Tae have released their sophomore project, The Way It Feels. The 15-track collection, out Friday (April 10), contains five brand-new tracks and 10 songs from two previously released EPs, 2019's One Heart to Another and Everywhere I’m Goin’, including the gold-certified single "Die From a Broken Heart."

The Way It Feels is Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye's first full length album since their debut disc, 2015's Start Here, which features their first No. 1 single, "Girl in a Country Song." In the five years since their debut, the pair have both endured and celebrated a number of major life events: the closure of their original record label, Dot Records, and their recent weddings, for example. The experiences gave Marlow and Dye the fodder to write all but one of songs on The Way It Feels.

"I think, for Tae and I, songwriting has always been our favorite part of everything. It’s what gives our live show the energy that it has ... it’s coming straight from us," Marlow tells The Boot. "We aren’t opposed to cutting outside [songs] -- we cut one outside song for this record -- but there [were] just so many things we have been through ...

"A lot of the songwriting process was extremely healing for us," she adds.

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Creatively, the songs on The Way It Feels express a different, more mature side to Marlow and Dye. “Water in His Wine Glass,” written by the two with Jon Nite, for example, comes from the perspective of a woman dealing with an alcoholic significant other: “Lord, pour water in his wine glass / Bring the man he used to be back / ‘Cause I wanna look him in the eyes and see someone I recognize.” 

Vulnerability played a key role in Maddie & Tae's creative process: “We really wanted to try new things and step out of our comfort zone," Dye says, "because you can’t grow if you don’t try."

Dye's new husband, hit songwriter Josh Kerr, also earns several co-writing credits on The Way It Feels. In addition to "Bathroom Floor" and "Write a Book," Kerr is a writer on "Lay Here With Me," which Maddie & Tae recorded with fellow country star and their former tour boss Dierks Bentley.

“When we wrote it, we didn’t really think of it as a duet, until Tae mentioned the idea,” Marlow explains of the song. “We thought that Dierks’ raspy voice would sound cool on that song."

Marlow wasn't sure the phone number she had for Bentley was still right, but she dialed him up and made the ask. "We thought it would be kind of a cool nod if he joined the second record because he was such an important part of our careers," Marlow reflects. Bentley agreed after hearing the song, which Dave Barnes also helped write.

In light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Maddie & Tae have postponed their headlining Tourist in This Town Tour, in support of The Way It Feels. New dates have yet to be announced, but the duo will join Lady Antebellum on the road for the country trio's Ocean Tour, which has also been delayed due to the pandemic and is now scheduled to begin in July.

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