Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss, ‘Whiskey Lullaby’: Story Behind the Lyrics
Legendary songwriter Bill Anderson talked to The Boot about the emotionally-charged song he co-wrote with Jon Randall. Recorded by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, ‘Whiskey Lullaby’ was the 2005 CMA Song of the Year.
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.”