“Reba’s son, Shelby [Blackstock], I think we’re about the same age, and we were at their Halloween party one year,” Thomas recalled to BMLG. “I remember us racing back and forth to this barn, and I think I kept beating him in this race. I think he was a little bit older than me and bigger than me, and he put me up against the wall, around my neck.
“And I remember Reba coming over and snatching Shelby off of me and putting us both in time out,” he continued. ” mean, I had to have been five, maybe five, to be put in timeout. I hope that I wasn’t like, nine or something and I was in timeout.”
Likely all has since been forgiven, especially since Thomas and Reba are nominated for a CMA Award together, for Musical Event of the Year, for “Be a Light.” The song, which also includes Lady A’s Hillary Scott, Keith Urban and Chris Tomlin on the track, was written before the coronavirus pandemic, but seemed especially timely to release in 2020.
“I wrote this song last year,” Thomas recounted. “I’d had this title written in my phone, ‘In a world full of hate be the light,’ and I think it came a little bit from the Bible verse talking about ‘a lamp on a hill should not be hidden’ – just being a light in a dark place. And for some reason I just was looking at Instagram and Twitter and all this stuff, just seeing so much hatred and people commenting on people’s stuff, just being super negative, and it drove me nuts.
“And I think at this point in time, I was like, ‘Man instead of addressing the meanness and the negativity, why don’t we just address for people just to be kind,’” he added. “That’s really where this inspiration of this song came from.”