Rucker tells PEOPLE how his hit "Homegrown Honey," off his upcoming album Southern Style, was born on a golf course

By Rennie Dyball
March 26, 2015 12:30 PM
Rick Diamond/Getty

There’s a saying in business that more deals get closed on the golf course than in the boardroom. Turns out, the fairway could be a breeding ground for country hits, too.

“Charles Kelley and I were playing golf one day and he said to me, out of the blue, ‘Dude, we’ve never written a song together,’ ” Darius Rucker tells PEOPLE of his good friend and tour partner from Lady Antebellum. “I was like, ‘Wow! Yeah, we haven’t.’ ”

Within just a few days, the country stars, along with producer Nathan Chapman, had penned “Homegrown Honey,” the first single off Rucker’s upcoming album.

“We had this great idea of writing about a Southern girl in New York City. It was one of those songs that, once we started, it wrote itself,” says Rucker. “We were in the studio maybe two hours, and we laughed, had a few drinks. It was a blast.”

The upbeat, catchy single from Southern Style (out Tuesday) “reminds me of back in my day, 20 years ago,” says the singer. “Back when I was in bars all the time, hanging out, having a good time, trying to pick up girls.”

“Homegrown Honey” has spent 16 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s currently No. 9 on the Hot Country chart – and it’s a hit at home as well.

“The kids sing and dance around to it,” says Rucker. “My wife thought it was a great song, a cool single. Everybody loves it.”

Some of Rucker’s favorite lyrics?

Trying to think of something cool to say/ Turned around and saw you walking my way

“That’s every dude right there, sitting at a bar, wanting to go talk to a girl. I thought that was a cool line.”

Yeah, nothing sweeter than wild/ I’ll take a sip of that smile

“I love that lyric too, I think that’s one of the best lyrics in the song. That was one of those moments, when that line was written, everyone was like, ‘Yeah! Yeah!’ It’s such a great way to see it, ‘I’ll take a sip of that smile.’ You get it.”

Baby you feel like home

“Every time I sing it or hear it, I think: That’s just the perfect payoff for the whole song. ‘I’m a long way away from where I’m from, but baby, you feel like home.’ I love that.”

And the one after that: ‘Did your momma teach you how to do that thing you do?’ It’s such a Southern thing to say, such a Southern way to think of it. I love that. That’s country right there.”

Throwing back whiskey straight, no water/ Girl there ain’t nothing hotter

“When you’re buying a round of shots and a girl goes, Give me a Jim Beam, you go, ‘Yeah. That’s hot.’ ”

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