Close your eyes and picture your favorite local watering hole that’s always got friendly service, a good vibe, and the occasional character or two.
“To the bag packed, first love leaver / The heart cracked, double-down dreamer / The homesick, the grass that’s greener / And a slice of mama’s peach pie,” McBryde croons in the song’s opening verse. After first listen, we couldn’t help but wonder the story behind what the origins behind the endearing song about getting over a bad day.
“I had a bad morning and a rough night the day before we wrote that song. And I got in the truck, and by the time I got to work, I broke my windshield, I got sick, and I broke a guitar string right away,” McBryde told Southern Living. “It was bad omen after bad omen. And another co-writer [Nicolette Hayford] had had a particularly awful morning, too. We were sitting here waiting for Jesse Rice [another co-writer] to get there. It was an hour-and-a-half after he was supposed to be there and we were both kind of angry. Well, he comes walking in, missing a lens out of his sunglasses. He says, ‘I don’t have my laptop, my guitar, and I dropped my phone last night.'”
After laughing over how disheveled the three writers felt over their bad days, they couldn’t help but start laughing and decided it wasn’t in their cards to write a song on such a horrible day. Not to let a little bad luck slow them down, Rice said, “Well, the worst day I ever had was when my car broke down outside of Atlanta.” He found himself in Dahlonega, Georgia and pulled up to an inconspicuous cafe. There, he went inside to call a tow truck, and saw none other than Shawn Mullins singing ‘Lullaby.’ The spot, of course, was The Crimson Moon Café, what became the venue McBryde paid homage to ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega.’ A parable for the power of snapping yourself out of a funk with the salvation of good music, friends, and a welcoming atmosphere, the trio got to writing.
Fast forward to the single’s release this summer and the unanticipated consequences of the song have been amazing for this special venue. “The next thing I knew, people were driving in from the Carolinas to come in and check out this little dive bar they heard about in the song,” said Dana LaChance, owner of The Crimson Moon Café. “People wanted a picture with me!”
Now, the Moon, a small-town dinner-theater style musical venue that hosts songwriters, local talent and traveling musicians, has exploded in popularity. For those road-tripping through Georgia, a town many country music fans may have passed right by is now becoming a must-see attraction. It’s also been featured in countless local newspapers, national publications, and more as the catchy song made its debut at the esteemed Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and made it into country music fans’ ears across the country.
“When I realized she was talking about what the Moon has always been good for: I opened it to give people a leg-up. What started as a general store in 1858 is a place that’s all about turning a bad day into a great night, looking for the silver lining, and trying to find the positive,” LaChance said.
If that’s not what the Southern state of mind is all about, we don’t know what is.
This article originally appeared on Southernliving.com