Colbie Caillat‘s band Gone West may be comprised of two happy and in love couples, but the group still loves a good heartbreak song.
More than one month before it hits radio airwaves on July 15, the singing quartet — Caillat and her fiancé Justin Young, and married couple Jason Reeves and Nelly Joy — is releasing their new single “What Could’ve Been” — and PEOPLE has the exclusive debut of the song!
“It’s just about two people that maybe let their relationship fall apart and then they think back years later on what they could have done differently and maybe they would still have been together. So it’s kind of an open-ended mystery,” Caillat, 34, tells PEOPLE of the single.
While she admits that “figuring out who does what harmony is always a little challenging depending on the song,” Caillat says that “this one, instantly, we just sang it in the room, the four of us together singing the chorus, and it kind of gave us chills and it really just fell into place easily.”
When it came to the story behind the four-part harmony, Reeves says the group all “immediately related” to it.
“We’re two happy couples, but we really love writing heartbreak songs or breakup songs. There’s just something about writing and singing sad songs that feels better, even if you’re not sad at the moment,” says Reeves, 34. “We’ve all been sad in the past and we probably will be in the future.”
He explains that “the song came together really quickly because I think we all tapped immediately into that feeling of knowing that you could have done something differently and if you would have done that, everything would have maybe gone the way you wanted it to.”
While the Nashville-based bandmates spend a large majority of their time working together, they credit their success as a group to their solid friendship, which spans nearly 15 years.
“I think the fact that we’ve known each other, we’ve been friends for so many years and we’ve worked together for so many years. … We’ve all written songs together or toured together and we’ve just been hanging out for 14 years honestly. The progression of this band came out naturally and when it comes to writing the songs and producing these songs, we all have a certain vision in mind for how we want it to turn out,” says Caillat.
“So we all keep each other on track and we all have the same goals with it,” the songstress adds. “If one of us wasn’t in the band, the songs would not sound the way they are. We feel grateful that we have those 14 years of experience and bonding together and now we all get to equally create these songs together.”
While their country album doesn’t yet have a release date, the group is excited to share it with fans.
“We just loved the foundation of country music, the steel guitar, four-part harmonies, organic instruments, and the storytelling in our song writing,” Caillat says. “So that was kind of how we based what we wanted this record to sound like.”
And as for how they came up with their band name? It’s a personal reflection of all four members.
“All of us are from west of Nashville. Hawaii, California, Texas and Iowa are all of our home states. And when we’re not in Nashville, we’ve usually gone west to be back there,” explains Reeves. “Once we came up with that name, we really liked it. And also, we just love being on the west coast and in Hawaii. Going west is a fun direction to travel!”
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