Grab your bandana and dry your eyes. A month and a half after Kelsea Ballerini and Noah Kahan duetted “Stick Season” and “Mountain With a View” at the ACMs, they’ve teamed up again for a reflective new song: “Cowboys Cry Too.”

Over an easy tempo, Ballerini sings about how her man is “as stubborn as the weeds in the backyard” because of having a hard time growing up, while Kahan sings about how you can’t outdrive pain. “When he’s showing his skin, letting me in, that’s when he’s toughest to me,” goes the chorus. “I never knew cowboys cry, too.” The pair recorded the vulnerable track with producer/songwriter Alysa Vanderheym.

“In our world and culture and echo chamber of highlight reels and pretty things, sometimes real feelings start to feel like something you just set aside or push down to keep up,” Ballerini said in a statement. “Especially the way so many men grow up, that kind of toxic masculinity mindset of ‘saddle up, brush it off’. I wanted to write my perspective and essentially celebrate the vulnerable men in my life, and Noah adding his really unfiltered perspective into it just brought it to life in a more meaningful and beautiful way.”

Kahan added, “It’s the writers who are willing to go to the awkward places that inspire me. Kelsea is one of those, and I knew if we could find something we both believed to sing, it would expand how we look at the way we live, what society decides and we should reject. ‘Cowboys Cry Too’ is everything I believed our collaboration could be.”


Ballerini previously discussed the song with Taste of Country Nights. “I wrote the chorus on my back porch last November,” she said. “And I love the idea of writing the song from a female perspective, kind of tackling toxic masculinity. Then as I was making the whole record and kind of putting the puzzle together, I was like, ‘Man, if we could have a male perspective on this who’s willing to go there and really be emotionally available to write his perspective into the song, that’d be amazing.’”

Ballerini reached out to Kahan by sliding into his DMs, according to Taste of Country. Kahan wrote his part while on tour and they recorded it before teaming up at the ACMs. “He opens his mouth and sings this whole verse and I just was like, ‘Oh, my gosh,’” Ballerini said of her appreciation of Kahan. She added of his lyrics, “If you don’t deal with the things that are living inside of you and your emotions and your traumas and your past and whatever it is, it manifests in your life somehow.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *