August 09, 2020

Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss Sang 'Whiskey Lullaby' Together — Story behind the Song

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In 2005, Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss's duet "Whiskey Lullaby" won the CMA Song of the Year Award. Behind the song's success is an interesting story.

Bill Anderson and Jon Randall co-wrote the hit song, which was released in March 2004 and quickly climbed the charts.

"Whiskey Lullaby" was the third single from Paisley's album, "Mud on the Tires." The song peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

Brad Paisley performs during the Live In The Vineyard Goes Country event at Regusci Winery on May 14, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images


Anderson said that Jon was having a difficult season in his life when they wrote the song together. Jon and his ex-wife had just divorced, and he had lost a writing and record deal.

Jon holed up at Anderson's house for a couple of weeks, drinking away his sorrows. When he sobered up, Jon apologized and Anderson said it was alright, adding:

"I've put the bottle to my head and pulled the trigger a few times in my life."

Alison Krauss at Highland Ground on September 21, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. | Photo: Getty Images


What Anderson said was stuck in Jon's head, and so when they went to the writing session, the latter pitched the line for the lyrics.

Anderson said that his original idea was to write a song titled, "Midnight Cigarette." Later, that title only became part of the song's opening line.

It was Paisley's idea to make it a duet, and he thought of either Alison Krauss or Dolly Parton.

Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss at Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. | Photo: Getty Images


Then Jon chimed in to suggest the line, "He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger." And then the songwriting process flowed from there.

They wrote the song in 2000 and it was just sitting there for a while until the Dixie Chicks had the song put on hold. But before the members could get back in the studio to record the song, they had already gone in different directions.

Around this time, Paisley had heard the song's demo and put a secondary hold on the song. When the Dixie Chicks went on hiatus, Paisley grabbed the chance to record the song.

Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss perform "Whiskey Lullaby" at 39th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. | Photo: Getty Images


It was Paisley's idea to make it a duet, and he thought of either Alison Krauss or Dolly Parton. Later, the "When I Get Where I'm Going" singer worked things out with Krauss's company.

And the rest is history. The song went on to become one of Paisley's four songs certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Meanwhile, Anderson included the song in his latest album, "The Hits Re-Imagined," released on July 24. Aside from "Whiskey Lullaby," the album also includes "Give It Away," "Still," and "I'll Wait for You."


The country legend has been nursing a broken heart since the death of his longtime companion, Vickie Salas. She succumbed to cancer on January 16, 2019, at 66 years old.

Anderson said that while he and Salas never married nor lived together, she became his "everything." He only has kind words for Salas, whom he described as the kindest and most compassionate person he has ever known.