Whiskey Lullaby: the lullaby that puts one to an eternal sleep


by Tahmid Azad Sohan

song‘HE PUT that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger’-with such ingenious and heart-touching lyric by Anderson and Jon Randal, this song rose to the zenith achieving accolades which includes the 2005 Country Music Association Song of the Year Award, reaching a peak of number three on the Bilboard Hot Country Singles &Track charts and 41 on the Bilboard Hot 100 and soon. The song is about a couple who have separated in the face of deceit and unable to take the pain, eventually drink themselves to death. With an astounding composition by Brad Paisley this song was accompanied by an equally moving music video that starred Rick Shroeder; later, Alison Krauss also assists in adding intensity to this particular love song.

The song starts with a very serene and bewailing guitar note standing as an omen of something really dark. It was the era of the World War II. Though he had won the war for millions of people lending his ear to a series of gun fires and heavy artillery sounds but he could not won the war for his own self leaning his ear to a lullaby, a whiskey lullaby. The lullaby, rather, put him to an eternal sleep and ‘buried him beneath the willow’ when he had found his beloved one in bed with another fellow carrying an extramarital affair. The song thereupon commenced containing lyric of ample connotations and beautiful harmonies.

At the outset of the first verse, the man being grief-stricken, turns to alcohol and leads a life wandering around without any destination. His drinking becomes chronic alcoholism that swiftly kills him due to over consumption. However, ‘he never could get drunk enough to get her off his mind’. Consequently, he kicked the bucket and got buried beneath the willow, the willow where once they used to make love and loiter around talking life. The startling strokes of acoustic and harmonies add more intensity to it making the listener feel the pain at hand. In his ear her words are echoing in a relentless manner, the promises she had made- you come home and we’ll start our family. Indeed, they inaugurated the family but in paradise, in Nirvana. Yes, her beloved one drank himself to death as well after pushing her towards dancing and sleeping with several men. Consequently, she chooses her beloved one’s path which is to consider whiskey as the lullaby, the lullaby which puts her to an eternal sleep. She holds herself responsible for his death and the pain slowly takes on, killing her and subsequently she gets buried beneath the willow beside her beloved one’s grave.

Indeed, she kept her promise metaphorically to being together, but this time in paradise, and has family with his beloved one. Their togetherness was also witnessed by a little girl, who caught sight of the ghosts of both of them dancing together beneath the willow tree; hugging, kissing and falling in love, all over again. Presumably, the girl was the last piece of the puzzle who virtually being their daughter composed the family as per the promise was made. This love song of all time, indeed, succeeded in driving the listener to a bitter sweet world. This piece of diamond never gets old. One gets goose bumps whenever lean one’s ear to this jewel; moreover, obtains teary eyed, moved by both the story that the song tells and the angelic reverberation of Alison Krauss’s voice. Brad Paisley’s vocal also has appreciable significance, as it adds another dimension of sorrow to the message of the song. This majestic lullaby, indeed, succeeded in putting one to sleep, an eternal sleep; the lullaby- the Whiskey Lullaby.
Tahmid Azad Sohan is a student of University Of Dhaka.

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