Nashville-based Southern rockers the Steel Woods are premiering their new song “Della Jane’s Heart” exclusively with The Boot. Readers can press play below to listen.

“Della Jane’s Heart” hides the murder story of a woman done wrong behind its honky-tonk-inspired melody: “Now the weight of her world was heavy as lead / But she drug it on down to the old river bed,” sings frontman Wes Bayliss. “With her knees in the mud / She looked up and prayed / 'Lord, please wash all of my sins and his body away.'” (Yikes!)

Considering the song's grisly subject matter, it may come as a surprise that “Della Jane’s Heart” takes a bit of inspiration from the Steel Woods' guitarist Jason “Rowdy” Cope's great-grandmother. Her name was Della Jane Mayberry.

"We started writing the perfect love story gone wrong -- Della Jane's first love reveals there is another woman in his life and he is leaving town with her -- but since it wasn't interesting enough for her to just go home and cry, we thought she should do something about it," Bayliss tells The Boot, "and it became the tragic love song on our album."

Bayliss and Cope, formerly a guitarist in Jamey Johnson’s band, got the idea for the Steel Woods when the two took off on a fishing trip together; these days, the band also includes drummer Jay Tooke and bassist Johnny Stanton. Together, Bayliss and Cope wrote the majority of their debut album, Straw in the Wind, which also includes tracks penned by songwriters such as Darrell Scott and Brent Cobb.

Straw in the Wind, on which "Della Jane's Heart" appears, is set for release on May 19. More information about the release and the band is available on

Listen to the Steel Woods, "Della Jane's Heart":

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