Caitlyn Smith has lived in Nashville for about a decade now, and she's seen the city change plenty -- but she's different now, too. After the singer-songwriter found herself considering the weight of all of this change during a drive around the city, she and co-writers Ben West and Stephen Wilson turned the idea in her song "I Can't."

The song appears on Smith's 2020 album Supernova, released on March 13 of that year -- just as the COVID-19 pandemic was becoming major news in the United States and life as we knew it was grinding to a halt. The record she had spent two years writing and recording, she says dryly, "kind of [got] eaten up by the CoronaMonster."

Six months later, however, both the album and the song got new life: Smith released a deluxe edition of Supernova, featuring "I Can't" reimagined as a duet with Old Dominion. Below, Smith shares the story behind the song, and behind getting the country band to join her on the new version of it.

On first listen, "I Can't" definitely sounds like a heartbreak song, but, for me, it's layered a little bit deeper than that. The idea came from driving by downtown Nashville and -- you know, I've lived in this town for 10, 11 years, and it's changed completely.

While I was driving by downtown, I was noticing, you know, the 17 cranes and the eight new skyscrapers and just thinking about that -- thinking about how much this town has changed -- but then also started reflecting on how much I've changed. I'm not the same girl I was when I moved to town, and thank God for that.

I just started thinking about all the change that I've gone through in my life: the relationships and things that I've moved on from, and the pieces of my life that I've had to let go of ... I was just thinking of this concept of change and how, you know, it's inevitable for every human that we come up against this mountain of change sometimes, and sometimes it's welcome, but a lot of times, it's very hard, and it can feel impossible. It can feel like you can't, right? ...

You hear the singer in the song talking about this mountain of change all around her, but as the song goes down, it gets smaller and smaller, into her own heartspace ... I think about those parts, too, that I've wanted to change through the years and how it's felt like, Ugh, I don't know how to do this ...

It definitely has taken on new meanings. When I first wrote it, I was kind of thinking on friendships I don't have anymore, people I don't talk to anymore, and then it has kind of morphed into even, like, the woman that's looking back on me in the mirror, and it's kind of turned into more of a self-reflection on wanting to change those parts of my heart that don't serve me, they don't serve anyone else, and how hard that is.

When I sing it, I think about: What things seem impossible? Well, for me, it's letting go of control, is one of my No. 1 daily feats. 2020, and into 2021, continues to bring upon me this idea that I want control, but I don't have it, and I definitely need to grapple with that constantly ... It continues to evolve as a singer ...

I was really excited to re-release the album, and the idea was to add a collaboration on it ... I kind of threw out a couple collaboration ideas with Shane McAnally, [co-president of my record label, Monument Records] -- we were kind of going back and forth -- and we both just through it would be really fun to pull in a country artist on one of these songs.

He threw out the Old Dominion idea, and I thought, "Okay, you can ask them. I don't think they'll say yes; they've never done a collaboration before," and to my surprise, he played them the song and they absolutely loved it.

The cool thing is, it felt like a very natural collaboration, too, because I've known a bunch of those guys through the years, through the writing community. Brad Tursi, the guitar player, him and I met on the Willie Nelson Country Throwdown Tour in 2011: We were both opening, in the guitar pull before Willie. So, Brad and I go way back; he's one of the first people I met in Nashville, and I remember when they started Old Dominion and I was so pumped because they're just releasing such great songs and are a bunch of great dudes ... Five years ago, we were playing a lot of the same stages at these country festivals, which is kind of neat ...

And so, all that to say, they agreed to do the duet ... I thought the content [of "I Can't"] was perfect [for a duet], the harmonies were there, and as far as the record as a whole, that song feels the most rooted in country music for me ... And it just all happened so very naturally, and even when we recorded it, we weren't thinking radio, but the doors just kind of kept opening ...

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