On Friday, March 4, Thomas Rhett released a new collaboration with Tyler Hubbard and Russell Dickerson titled “Death Row.” The track’s attention-grabbing title is matched by an equally powerful message about forgiveness and redemption. In the song Rhett co-wrote with Ashley Gorley and Zach Crowell, the artists sing about their real-life experience performing for prisoners on death row in 2019.

The emotional tone of the track is set by the acoustic guitar intro, after which Rhett dives into the story of visiting the prisoners. In the first verse, he sings about being nervous to meet the imprisoned men, but he soon realizes his fear was unfounded. 

“I thought he would be a monster / It turns out he’s a whole lot like I am,” he sings.

In the chorus, Rhett details his conversations with the inmates about subjects including hunting, fishing and religion. Hubbard joins in the second verse, singing about the connection he formed with the inmates. The emotional apex of the song comes in the bridge when Dickerson sings about a man in the prison who sang “Amazing Grace” with “one hand raised and one foot chained to the ground.”

The poignant song not only summarizes the lessons the singers learned while visiting death row, but it emphasizes the shared humanity of all people. Dickerson shared more about the inspiration behind the song on his Instagram Story.

“The three of us actually went to death row, and this song, line by line, is our experience,” he said. “We walked in thinking that it was going to be this scary experience. We walked in to minister to them, but they ended up ministering to us, and it was a life-changing, God experience.”

Hubbard also shared a video on social media to talk about their experience, which he recalls was “eye-opening” and “fulfilling.”

“We went and visited death row here in Nashville and spent the day with the guys on death row," he says. "We played music for them, we hung out, chatted it up. It was extremely encouraging and eye-opening and fulfilling. We just wanted to serve and invest into these guys’ lives, and it turns out it felt like we left there and they invested in our life. It was just super life-giving and fulfilling.”

“Death Row” will appear on Rhett’s new album, Where We Started, which is set for release on April 1.

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