Whiskey Lullaby

Album: Mud On The Tires (2003)
Charted: 41


  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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."
  • During an interview included in Nashville Songwriter: The Inside Stories Behind Country Music's Greatest Hits by Jake Brown, Anderson said that he and Jon Randall wrote the tune back in 2000 as something to be sung by one person. However, he added, "people weren't lined up down the street looking for double-suicide drinking songs, so it sat on the shelf for five years."

    Dixie Chicks were the first act to have the song on hold had but their career imploded in the meantime. Then Brad Paisley heard the tune and spotted its potential as a duet. Anderson recalled: "Brad called me one day on the phone, and said, 'I've been listening to this "Whiskey Lullaby," what would you think if I brought a girl to sing on that second verse?" And I said, 'I've never thought of that. Who do you have in mind?' And he said, 'Well, I think there's only two people who could do it, and I would like to have one of those: Alison Krauss or Dolly Parton.' And I told him, 'Well, you don't have to ask my permission to do that, because I love them both!' So next thing I knew, they worked out all the contract stuff with Alison and everything fell into place."

Comments: 16

  • Anison from LusakaI really love this song it takes me to my own world.Though, what this song talks about has never happened to me before, I feel this song in my veins'.... At the end I even thought of singing this song as a cover...
  • Felix Eyibo from NigeriaNever listened to anything this deep in a long time.. a friend sent the song to me, I felt reluctant to play it.. but when I eventually did.. I play it on repeat till date. I love it.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlThis is one of the best videos I've probably ever seen in my life. This song is so sad, but so good. True talent by both:)
  • Jared from Palmer, KsIn the original version of this song right after it came out it said, "I put the barrel to my head and pulled the trigger"
  • Adam from Boyce, VaI don't really care for Country all that much but this song rips your heart out for real. Damn good song..
  • Dylan from Dodge City, KsThis song is so tragic.
  • Christopher from Rome, GaYou know I heard this song when it first came out and it was just another song to me, then my fiancé left me and it's not just a song anymore. I understand what it is to live a constant nightmare from which you can't wake up. I can't forget and I don't think I ever will. This will be the story of my life.
  • Radio Valley from Thimphu, Bhutanit's always nice to listen to songs that tell stories, and esp stories this sad... it makes you feel grateful for being strong but at the same time for the ones who have to live life this way and worse... die this way! I had tears in my eyes when i first listened to it... just like the time i heard the promise by tracy chapman.
  • Will from Memphis, TnThe story of my life. I'm still trying. And I still miss her.
  • Garrett from Spokane, WaThis song fits me well. After my girlfriend left me, I started drinking. It got wors and worse until I tried to kill myself.... twice. Obviously, that made her feel horrible, and that just made me worse. I don't know what to do now.
  • Rachel from Cleveland, Althis song is great. the music video is good to. it's so sad but it was the womans fault. because she cheated on the dude, the woman and the dude are dead. suicide being their fate. the message it sends out really makes you think twice about cheating and women are not the only ones who cheat. guys do it to.
  • Paul from Ireland, IrelandWritten By John Randall / Bill Anderson

    Jon Randall has a haunting version (My Personal Favourite) on his Album "Walking Among The Living"
    Just Acoustic & Strings with one of the most perfect vocals ever dedicated to record
  • Lele from Little Elm , TxI love this song... it so sad and so well written. I love the story behind it.
  • Sandy from Warsaw, InThis song took my heart last year and it still has it I love it!!
  • Erin from Pittsburgh, PaI sing this every day. My cousin drunk himself to death. R.I.P.
  • Justin from Keller, TxThis song took my heart when my mom frst had me liten to it...
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