The two singer-songwriters revealed that writing “Long Hot Summer” was more than just putting words to music; it was actually a testament to their friendship.
“We had an ‘issue’ with each other and I learned a lot about the importance of friendship,” says Keith. “[The song] wasn’t born of a quota to write a song. It was born of a want for us to reconnect, and the song was a by-product of that desire.” While they had to reschedule the party a couple of times, the celebration was very important to both of them. “This is important,” says Richard. “I love this guy, and this song is a great testament to our friendship.”
A special moment came near the end of the fete when Keith pulled a couple of young adults up on stage to perform "Long Hot Summer," along with him and Richard. He combed through tons of YouTube videos to find two talented aspiring musicians and fly them to Nashville to join him for the party. Patrick Woolam, who fronts his own band in Kansas City, was featured on lead vocals, while Leslie Strong, from Hazard, Kentucky, showcased her talents on the guitar and matched Keith lick for lick. The two didn’t appear nervous at all in front of an industry crowd made up of publishers, producers, songwriters and label executives, and in fact, seemed like they belonged on stage.
This was the pair’s third hit song they wrote together. Their first, “Better Life,” went to No. 1 in 2004, while “Everybody” hit the Top 5 in 2007.