Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Mud On The TiresReleased: 2003Charted:
A duet with Alison Krauss, this song is about a man and a woman who were married; he went to war and when he came back she was with another man. He kills himself, drinking himself to death, leaving a note to say that he still loves her. In the next verse the woman is mourning his loss. She thinks it's her fault and kills herself as well, drinking herself to death, holding his picture. (thanks, Melissa - Edmonton, Canada)
This acoustic ballad was the 2005 CMA Song of the Year.
Alison Krauss also played the viola on the track.
The song was written by Bill Anderson and Jon Randall and was inspired by a difficult time that Randall was going through including a divorce from country star Lorrie Morgan. Anderson told AOL's The Boot the story behind the song: "Jon Randall and I wrote the song together. Jon was going through some pretty rough times back then. He had gotten a divorce and lost his writing deal and his record deal all within just a day or two of each other. And he went over to a friend's house and crashed for a couple of weeks. When he decided to sober up and come back and join the living again, he apologized to his friend. He said, 'Man, I'm sorry for the way I've acted the last couple of weeks.' And his friend said to him, 'That's alright Jon, I've put the bottle to my head and pulled the trigger a few times in my life.' So when Jon came to the writing session, that was fresh on his mind. I went to the writing session with the idea to write a song called, 'Midnight Cigarette.' Basically that turned out to be the first line of 'Whiskey Lullaby': 'She put him out like the burnin' end of a midnight cigarette.'That was what I wanted to write the whole song about. Jon loved that line so we wrote it down and then he said, "Here's a line here: 'He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger.'" I said, 'Well, let's forget about the 'Midnight Cigarette.' Man, you've got the perfect idea for the song there.' And it just kind of flowed [from] there."
Paisley talked about the song in 2013 with Entertainment Weekly
: "It's an angelic, ghostly bluegrass ballad, really a tragedy, and I think when I get to heaven, if the angels don't sound like Alison Krauss, we have been cheated.
What's interesting is it was never expected to be a single. And it's a good example of how I was slowly able to expand by comfort zone, like getting away with 'I'm Gonna Miss Her
' and 'Celebrity' - songs that were just not what you would have expected from the guy that did Who Needs Pictures