Song of the Day #1,021: ‘Whiskey Lullaby’ – Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss

Brad Paisley can do so many things so well.

He’s perhaps the best songwriter around at composing straight-forward love songs (quick, name a more effective recent love song than ‘Then’ or ‘She’s Everything’). He has a great sense of humor that shines through in his albums as well as onstage. He’s a peerless guitar player who surrounds himself with excellent session players to record albums that rock and swing like crazy.

But even given all that, Paisley can still surprise from time to time, and today’s SOTD is a fine example.

‘Whiskey Lullaby’ is a real tear-soaked country ballad, written by Bill Anderson and Jon Randall and recorded by Paisley for his wonderful 2003 album Mud On the Tires. It’s among the most poignant things he’s ever done.

The song tells the tale of a couple who take turns breaking each other’s heart and drinking themselves to death. Alison Krauss, whose praises I sang in my ‘favorite vocalists’ series, delivers a performance of aching beauty. And Paisley, who has won more “Best Country Vocalist” awards than he can count, matches her note for note.

These are two very different artists at the top of their games.

She put him out like the burnin’ end of a midnight cigarette
She broke his heart he spent his whole life tryin’ to forget
We watched him drink his pain away a little at a time
But he never could get drunk enough to get her off his mind
Until the night

He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away her memory
Life is short but this time it was bigger
Than the strength he had to get up off his knees
We found him with his face down in the pillow
With a note that said I’ll love her till I die
And when we buried him beneath the willow
The angels sang a whiskey lullaby

The rumors flew but nobody knew how much she blamed herself
For years and years she tried to hide the whiskey on her breath
She finally drank her pain away a little at a time
But she never could get drunk enough to get him off her mind
Until the night

She put that bottle to her head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away his memory
Life is short but this time it was bigger
Than the strength she had to get up off her knees
We found her with her face down in the pillow
Clinging to his picture for dear life
We laid her next to him beneath the willow
While the angels sang a whiskey lullaby

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,021: ‘Whiskey Lullaby’ – Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss

  1. Dana says:

    While the lyrics may be touching and the singing fine, I can’t begin to tell you how uninteresting this song is to me musically. This is exactly the type of country music that I can live a long life without ever hearing.

  2. Amy says:

    I have to agree with Dana on this one. I like both Brad Paisley and Alison Kraus, but this song does nothing for me. Another blatant country song – and, in fitting with the week’s theme – another duet, that I find much more effective is “Not Too Much to Ask” by Mary Chapin Carpenter (and peformed by her and Joe Diffie, who is apparently one of those huge country singers known only to hardcore country fans, and, therefore, not to me) Here it is:

    As for the challenge that starts your post today…. the first songs that came to mind were by Taylor Swift (young love) and Mary Chapin Carpenter (mature love), so I think there’s definitely something to the idea that country music artists, with their willingness to be earnest and not worry about coming across as sappy or corny – which will likely just help them sell more albums, as the songwriters most likely to produce the best love songs today.

    “Our Song” by Taylor

    “Mine” by Taylor Swift (the quintessential country love song!)

    And, of course, I love “Then” – another fabulous love song!

  3. Amy says:

    Should have mentioned Keith Urban as another great love song writer/singer (and, of course, another country singer). Here is a sample. HIs “Thank You”

  4. Clay says:

    The Chapin Carpenter song is very pretty, though I don’t see any substantial difference between it and today’s SOTD (musically, that is). I’m sure Dana would agree. But I like both of them.

  5. Dana says:

    Yes, I would agree, though I like the Carpenter song a bit more than today’s SOTD.

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