There are many covers of “Tennessee Whiskey,” originally performed by David Allan Coe.
It is best known by Chris Stapleton.
The quality, richness, and character of his raspy voice is so powerful. He is a legend, and it’s hard to deny it. If you’ve heard others singing this song, you’ve never heard it being sung by anyone like Chris Stapleton.
During Farm Aid—concerts benefitting those who live off the land—Chris Stapleton shows off his vocals. This YouTube video randomly popped up amidst my typical dance music. I might have heard it once or twice but never really listened.
Well, this time, I certainly did.
The song is about thanking a lover who shows compassion toward his struggle with alcoholism and hardships. She keeps him grounded. It’s a love song, but not just any lighthearted love song.
This song has meaning and depth. It’s a thank you song to someone who saved the singer’s life. It’s a song letting them know that without them, they would not be here.
Such a song is often hard to come by among the pop sensations of “let’s hook up at this club” and other such sentiments.
It’s soulful and bittersweet. This person found his way through love. The troubled journey to get there is part of what make Chris Stapleton’s rasps so powerful. We hear that journey in his voice. He’s a great storyteller that way. We hear the heartfelt cracks in his voice, artistically chosen at certain times.
There’s emotion. There’s healing. There’s just a person thanking his lover.
But there’s so much more to that.
I love music. I am not typically a country fan. This one turned me into one, at least for him. There is no other voice like his, and he is extremely humble and introduces his band members right away.
I didn’t think I would be hooked or listen to it over and over as the song was all that mattered to me in the moment. It told a story I wasn’t part of, but I felt I was right there in it. It grounded me.
“This is what music is supposed to be.”
I felt it all.
When we have these moments, we are reminded how important art is to the soul.
Let his song speak to yours now.
Hear it for yourself: