Erin Enderlin’s ‘If I’m Not in Hell’ Oozes Classic Country Heartache [Listen]
Erin Enderlin draws on her love of classic, tear-in-my-beer country music in her newest ballad, “If I’m Not in Hell,” a song that she co-wrote with musical pals Kimberly Kelly and Kayla Ray. Together, the three co-writers set out to encapsulate the kinds of heartbreak ballads they all grew up loving, and Enderlin says she’s proud of the results.
“They are incredible artists and writers, and we all love old-school country music,” she shares. “I had written the title down in my idea book, and I knew they were the perfect people to help bring it to life. It’s honestly one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever been a part of and captures all of my favorite parts of a country song. What can I say, sad songs make me happy.”
Enderlin continues to prove her versatility in her down-and-out new ballad, demonstrating her skills as a songwriter who can convey heartbreak and sorrow as effortlessly as she can deliver lighthearted humor. “If I’m Not in Hell” follows the singer’s latest release, “Somebody’s Shot of Whiskey,” a quippy and upbeat ode to self-acceptance that she dropped back in July.
It’s also not the singer-songwriter’s first time showing how expertly she can emulate ‘90s country: In 2020, Enderlin released a version of one of her favorite cover songs to mix into her setlists, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s classic “Fishin’ in the Dark." But in “If I’m Not in Hell,” Enderlin soaks up the kind of emotional resonance fans have long found in ballads by artists such as Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless — two of Enderlin’s all-time musical heroes — and applies it to her own original material.
That’s an accomplishment for any country artist, and it didn’t get past Loveless herself. “A sad country song is a friend you can have a good cry with. And there are times when we need a friend like Erin … to listen to and cry with,” Loveless says, praising the younger performer, in a press release. ""If I’m Not in Hell" is that kind of song to me.”
In addition to her work as a solo artist, Enderlin has found success as a songwriter, penning tracks for the likes of Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack and Luke Bryan. Her latest album, Faullkner County, arrived in 2019.
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