West Virginia's Davisson Brothers Band takes a swing at the big leagues with the theme song to ESPN's "Baseball Tonight."
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fans of ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" with Keyser native John Kruk might have noticed a new opening song being used for the show beginning this week.
The song, which debuted Sunday, features the Morgantown-based country/rock act the Davisson Brothers Band and is a collaboration between Kruk and the band.
In January, Kruk and the band were guests for the premiere of "The Coffee Talk Show," a late-night interview program on WBOY in Morgantown.
Chris Davisson said, "They had this show with different people from West Virginia, who've been successful. They had John on the show and Bobby Ray Shafer from 'The Office.' They brought us in to play."
But there was a lot of downtime before the start of the show, and the group (which features brothers Chris and Donnie, their cousin Sammy and friend Aaron Regester) found themselves marooned for hours in their dressing room backstage at the Metropolitan Theatre.
After a while, a bored Kruk poked his head through the door and said, "Hey, you guys mind if I sit in your room? There's nobody in mine."
"We told him, 'Come on in,'" Donnie said. "He sat down, and we got to talking. He was just like us, just a good ol' boy from West Virginia."
It turned out they had a lot in common. Kruk and the Davisson brothers like to fish, and Kruk is a big music fan.
"He said he had a guitar at home but had never learned to play it," Chris said. "So, we showed him a couple of things."
"And the next thing you know, he's picking along with us," Donnie added.
After the show, they got dinner, and Kruk mentioned he wanted to change the theme for "Baseball Tonight."
"I jokingly brought it up," Kruk said. "It's just an instrumental, so I thought we could put some lyrics to it.
"I never dreamt it would come to anything."
A few weeks later, both Kruk and the band were in Florida, and what started as a joke became a lot more real.
"They called, then came over to my hotel room," Kruk said. "We worked on the song for two or three hours."
The band, he said, brought a new take on the old theme, which was more upbeat with a country/rock feel to it.
"We put the lyrics on it, and it sounded good," Kruk said.
So good that he took a rough recording and played it for some people at ESPN.
"They loved it, and the next thing you know we're in Nashville recording the song."
The band called on a couple of contacts to help them record: songwriters/producers Brian David Willis (Brad Paisley, Keith Urban) and Phil "Philbilly" O'Donnell (Travis Tritt, Craig Morgan).
Kruk said, "First thing after I get there, Phil O'Donnell tells me his brain is fried and that he's been writing for two weeks straight and his brain is mush."
Which was a problem, since Kruk felt they needed to change some of the lyrics, which he said needed to be a little bit more specific for "Baseball Tonight."
"So, we get to the studio, and he kind of lays there on the floor," Kruk said.
After the song was finished, O'Donnell told the band to play the music, and he sang it. Then, O'Donnell told Kruk, "Now, you sing it."
"Are you kidding me?" Kruk told him. "I just heard this. I don't know it."
Still, he gave it a shot, and according to the brothers, he knocked it out of the park.
"He did a great job," Chris said.
And the folks at ESPN liked what they heard, too. The song, which has Donnie sharing vocals, debuted on Sunday on "Baseball Tonight" and has been played several times throughout the week.
Kruk said it's received a really strong response.
"Some of my country music friends have texted me to tell me how much they like it," he said. "Of course, when they're your friends, they're not going to tell you when you stink."
ESPN, however, liked it enough that the network want to bring the band in to shoot a video for the song, a piece of information that Donnie, who'd spent the week clearing brush on his farm, hadn't heard about.
"Really?" he said. "That's awesome."
"Baseball Tonight" airs nightly at 10 p.m. and midnight and 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays during baseball seasons. There are multiple reruns throughout the week.
Reach Bill Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5195.