Columbia Nashville/Columbia Records | 2022
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‘Tennessee Orange’ by Megan Moroney - Lyrics & Meaning

May 31, 2023 9:33 am GMT
Last Edited June 19, 2023 8:19 am GMT

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Megan Moroney - ‘Tennessee Orange’

Label: Columbia Nashville/Columbia Records

Release Date: September 2nd 2022

Album: Lucky

Producers: Kristian Bush

Songwriters: Megan Moroney, Ben Williams, David Fanning & Paul Jenkins

Chart Performance:

  • No. 1 on Mediabase Country
  • Top Ten on Billboard Country Airplay

Awards:

Certifications:

The Background:

Historically, country music has drawn inspiration from an array of worthy muses. However, few things seem to get the pulse racing quite as fast as the feeling of being in love or the sight of a last-minute touchdown while cheering on your favourite team.

So when Megan Moroney combined the two topics on ‘Tennessee Orange’, it was a surefire hit, and remains her most recognisable song to date. Released in September 2022, just in time for the opening game-day of the season, ‘Tennessee Orange’ also received a helping hand from a swirling cacophony of rumours as to who the ballad was written about.

The sweet, endearing song tells the star-crossed tale of a Georgia Bulldogs-supporting girl who falls for a fan of their arch nemeses, the Tennessee Volunteers. Before releasing the witty single, Moroney teased the track by posting a blurry image of her donning a Vols jersey.

This led to a misty haze of speculation as to who the shirt belonged to, with the prime candidate initially being Conner Smith, who had released his own love-song revolving around the Georgia-Tennessee rivalry a week prior to ‘Tennessee Orange’, ‘Orange and White’.

Given the fact that Smith didn't really fit the description of Megan Moroney's anthem, fans’ attention then turned to country megastar, Morgan Wallen, who fanned the flames with a flurry of teasing comments on Megan Moroney's Instagram. For instance, Morgan Wallen posted, “Did we ever figure out who’s shirt this is??”

In a later interview, after much pressing, Megan Moroney eventually revealed that it was, in fact, Morgan Wallen's jersey, but has never confirmed that the two were ever in a relationship.

In early 2023, Wallen released ‘Tennessee Fan’, which some fans still believe to be about Megan Moroney, despite it focussing on a love-story born from the infamous Tennessee Volunteers and Alabama Crimson Tide contest, instead of the Georgia Bulldogs.

‘Tennessee Orange’ continues to climb the charts, and currently seems on-track to become Megan Moroney's first ever No. 1 at Country Radio. Its popularity is being spurred on by the track's pivotal role in Moroney's setlist during her 2023 run of shows.

The song would ultimately appear on Moroney's major label debut, Lucky, which dropped on May 5.

The Sound:

‘Tennessee Orange’ stayed true to the sonic recipe that Megan Moroney had honed on her July 2022 EP, Pistol Made of Roses, while thematically venturing into more romantic territory.

The football-inspired track showcases Moroney's laid-back, conversational lyricism and vocal style, which gives ‘Tennessee Orange’ its charming, easygoing feel.

Just like all of the Georgia native's releases so far, the production for ‘Tennessee Orange’ was helmed by Sugarland's Kristian Bush, who cushions Moroney's voice with a gentle acoustic guitar and generally understated instrumentation.

It's a hugely successful blueprint that Megan Moroney has - understandably - doubled-down on for much of her 2023 debut album, Lucky, yet she still leaves room for a healthy dose of experimentation, particularly on the joyously rampant and retro-tinged title-track.

The Meaning:

“Mama, I'm callin', I've got some news
Don't you tell daddy, he'll blow a fuse
Don't worry, I'm doin' okay
I know you raised me to know right from wrong
It ain't what you think and I'm still writin' songs
Just never thought I'd see the day
I've never felt this way”

The clever lyrical composition of ’Tennessee Orange’ kicks off with Megan Moroney calling her mother, as she warns her that she has some potentially troublesome news to share.

The first verse is peppered with tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted hints that Moroney is about to announce that she's pregnant, before going on to make the big reveal in the hook.

“I met somebody and he's got blue eyes
He opens the door and he don't make me cry
He ain't from where we're from
But he feels like home, yeah
He's got me doin' things I've never done

In Georgia, they call it a sin
I'm wearing Tennessee orange for him”

From the way she playfully tip-toes around the confession, it seems Megan Moroney's Bulldogs-loving father may well be more distraught about this revelation than he would've been if she was, in fact, pregnant. It all adds to the joviality and levity of the song, and subtly pokes fun at the seriousness with which we often approach sports-based loyalties.

“Took me to Knoxville last Saturday
And I wore the hat on his dash to the game
It sure wasn't Athens but I
Fell for him under those Neyland lights”

The second verse of ‘Tennessee Orange’ revolves around Moroney's love interest taking her to her first ever Vols game at Knoxville's famous Neyland Stadium.

“Mama, forgive me, I like him a lot
Hell, I'm learning the words to Old Rocky Top
And he's got a smile that makes me forget
I've always looked better in red”

Moroney continues the genial ambience of the song into the third and final verse, where she informs her mother that she's become so invested in the Volunteers, that she's even singing along to the team's theme song, ‘Rocky Top’.

She then tauntingly reaffirms that Morgan Wallen's allure makes her forget her Georgia roots, as well as the fact that she's always preferred wearing the Dawgs’ black-and-red home strip.

Even so, Megan Moroney throws in a final reminder that, deep down, she'll always be a Bulldogs fan.

“In Georgia, they call it a sin
And I still want the Dawgs to win
But I'm wearing Tennessee orange for him
I'm wearing Tennessee orange for him”

What has Megan Moroney said about ‘Tennessee Orange’?

In an interview with Holler, Megan Moroney stressed that she never expected ‘Tennessee Orange’ to become the smash hit that it has quickly evolved into. The country prodigy underlined, “Once it was finished we just kind of shelved it. We thought it was a good song, but it definitely didn’t fit on the [Pistol Made of Roses] EP, so there wasn't really a place for it at the time. Then, in September, Spotify brought an opportunity to us where they needed an unreleased, original song that I wanted to put out. The release date was near the first week of football season so I said, “I have this football love song that might be a good follow-up to the EP””.

She went on to emphasise, “Even when we decided to put it out, we still weren't sure how it was going to be received. It's a love song and I hadn't released one of those yet, so we thought people might like it. There was no thought that it was going to be the song. I probably would have put my money on another song, but definitely not ‘Tennessee Orange’”.

During a chat with SiriusXM's The Highway, Megan Moroney delved into the origins of ‘Tennessee Orange’, “When I put a Tennessee shirt on it just felt wrong. And I knew if it felt that wrong, then it would probably either be a funny story or a good song to write about. So I came up with the hook, ‘In Georgia they call it a sin, I’m wearing Tennessee Orange for him’, and brought it in and we wrote it”.

In the same conversation, she went on to confirm the jersey that inspired the track was indeed Morgan Wallen's, before playing down suggestions that they were an item, “It's his shirt. But it's just a shirt”.

For the full lyrics to Megan Moroney's ‘Tennessee Orange’, see below:

“Mama, I'm callin', I've got some news
Don't you tell daddy, he'll blow a fuse
Don't worry, I'm doin' okay
I know you raised me to know right from wrong
It ain't what you think and I'm still writin' songs
Just never thought I'd see the day
I've never felt this way

I met somebody and he's got blue eyes
He opens the door and he don't make me cry
He ain't from where we're from
But he feels like home, yeah
He's got me doin' things I've never done

In Georgia, they call it a sin
I'm wearing Tennessee orange for him

Took me to Knoxville last Saturday
And I wore the hat on his dash to the game
It sure wasn't Athens but I
Fell for him under those Neyland lights

I met somebody and he's got blue eyes
He opens the door and he don't make me cry
He ain't from where we're from
But he feels like home, yeah
He's got me doin' things I've never done

In Georgia they call it a sin
I'm wearing Tennessee orange for him

Mama, forgive me, I like him a lot
Hell, I'm learning the words to Old Rocky Top
And he's got a smile that makes me forget
I've always looked better in red

But I met somebody and he's got blue eyes
He opens the door and he don't make me cry
He ain't from where we're from
But he feels like home, yeah
He's got me doin' things I've never done

I met somebody and he's got blue eyes
He opens the door and he don't make me cry
He ain't from where we're from
But he feels like home, yeah
He's got me doin' things I've never done

In Georgia, they call it a sin
And I still want the Dawgs to win
But I'm wearing Tennessee orange for him
I'm wearing Tennessee orange for him”

For more on Megan Moroney, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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