"Whiskey Lullaby" is a song composed by Bill Anderson and Jon Randall. It was recorded by American country music artist Brad Paisley as a duet with Alison Krauss on Paisley's album Mud on the Tires, and released on March 29, 2004, as that album's third single, and the eleventh chart single of Paisley's career. The song reached a peak of number three on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts, and 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song won the 2005 Country Music Association Song of the Year Award. It is one of Paisley's four songs certified 2× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, the others being "She's Everything", "Then", and "Remind Me".
|Single by Brad Paisley featuring Alison Krauss|
|from the album Mud on the Tires|
|Released||March 29, 2004|
|Length||4:19 (album version)|
3:46 (single version)
|Brad Paisley singles chronology|
|Alison Krauss singles chronology|
"Whiskey Lullaby" is a largely acoustic ballad in the key of B minor, accompanied mostly by acoustic guitar and Dobro. Its narrative centers on a couple that has an abruptly painful separation leading both to alcoholism and eventually drinking themselves to death: first the man, with a broken heart, and later the woman, feeling guilt for the man's death. While the video shows infidelity on the part of the woman, the lyrics don't mention anything about infidelity or state what the woman did to break the man's heart.
Paisley sings the first verse and chorus, which focus on the male character, while Krauss sings the second verse and chorus, which focus on the female character.
Jon Randall, one of the song's co-writers, had just divorced from country singer Lorrie Morgan before writing this song. In addition, he had lost a record deal, and had not been able to find a songwriting contract either. He found himself drinking whiskey regularly, and pursuing sexual desires. After seeing the condition that Randall was in at the time, his manager told him, "Hey man, every now and then you've got to put a bottle to your head and pull the trigger." Randall then wrote down that line, and decided to use it in a song. He then met Bill Anderson and began to write the song, which eventually made its way to Paisley. When Paisley originally discovered the song, he had told Anderson that he would like to record it with either Alison Krauss or Dolly Parton; Anderson agreed to either singer (for he is a fan of both), and the song would then be recorded by Paisley and Krauss. Randall himself also included a version on his 2005 album Walking Among the Living.
The full-length music video is set in the World War II era. It starts out in a bus full of war vets and the sound of explosions still fresh in their minds. One of the men (played by Rick Schroder, who directed the video) is looking at a picture of him and his wife kissing under a willow tree. He then has a flashback of him swinging her in his arms under the willow tree and him saying 'I'll love you forever!' to which she replies 'You come home and we'll start our family'. He's then woken up and the bus driver tells him it's his stop, before leaving the bus the driver says 'You're home, go start your life son'. As he walks into his house, he looks at the pictures of him and his wife (Marisa Petroro, who also appeared in the video for Montgomery Gentry's "Speed") and hears her voice again saying 'you come home and we'll start our family!'. He hears laughter upstairs and walks up expecting to find his wife alone, but instead she is in bed with another man. He then leaves her and the song begins.
The first verse of the song in the video shows the man getting drunk, and not being able to get his wife off his mind. His drinking becomes chronic alcoholism that swiftly kills him due to his consumption, and the first chorus depicts his funeral and his wife crying.
The second verse of the song in the video depicts the wife starting a drinking habit close to that of her late husband. During her drunken state, she dances with several men, but finds herself seeing her dead husband's face in the other men. There is a scene in which the wife pushes a man (with whom she was going to sleep) out of the room and shuts the door on him. She obviously holds herself at fault for her husband's death, and can only feel at ease while drinking whiskey from her bottle.
Just before the second chorus there is a shot of her at her husband's grave crying and drinking. When the chorus starts, it cuts to her funeral, which also took place in 1947. When the song finishes, a little girl looks back at the graves and sees their ghosts, hugging and kissing and falling in love again. The little girl in the video is played by Rick Schroder's daughter. The man's tombstone indicates that his name was Richard, born 1916, and the woman's tombstone indicates that her name was Katherine (which is his wife's real first name), born in 1919. They also indicate that their last name was Bartlett (which is Rick's real middle name).
Interwoven with the storyline are shots of Brad (wearing a black hat and tux, a rarity for one of his videos) and Alison performing the song on stage at a concert hall among many dancing patrons.
The music video was filmed on June 6 and 7, 2004, in Nashville. It premiered on June 30, 2004 on CMT.
"Whiskey Lullaby" debuted at number 48 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of April 10, 2004. The song has sold over 1,935,000 digital copies as of April 2016.
|US Billboard Hot 100||41|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||3|
|US Country Songs (Billboard)||18|
|United States (RIAA)||2× Platinum||1,935,000|
- Gallagher, Pat (November 11, 2009). "Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss, 'Whiskey Lullaby': Story Behind the Lyrics". The Boot. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
- Hollabaugh, Lorie. "Jon Randall Is Back – Walking Among the Living". Great American Country. Retrieved August 12, 2008.
- Bjorke, Matt (April 4, 2016). "The Top 30 Digital Country Singles: April 4, 2016". Roughstock.
- "Brad Paisley Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- "Brad Paisley Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- "Best of 2004: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2004. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- "American single certifications – Brad Paisley – Whiskey Lullaby". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 31, 2016. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.