When You Say Nothing At All
Keith Whitley or Alison Krauss & Union Station
Written by Paul Overstreet & Don Schlitz
Sometimes, silence says it best.
With “When You Say Nothing at All,” written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, the magic is in the calm and the quiet. The song was a poetic ode to the desperately devoted, and countless people connected with the simple song of love’s mysterious ways. In the narrator’s view, love is often at its most powerful when no words are needed, and even the wordsmith Webster couldn’t define the divine emotion. The song’s multiple readings have resulted in uniquely different takes on the graceful lyric. The two most notable recordings sprung from a troubled singer whose music continues to impact audiences twenty years after his death, and a pure vocalist whose heavenly strains have enraptured country and bluegrass devotees for almost two decades.
Alison Krauss & Union Station, “Simple Love”
All of the new tracks from the recent Alison Krauss compilation A Hundred Miles or More are worth hearing, but this is one of the best. It’s usually assumed that we envy other people for their material possessions, but Krauss here is envying a man who has recently passed away. He’d lived a simple life, “always giving, never asking back.” She prays that when it’s her time to go, she can look back and say she had a simple love like that. I’m not quite sure if she’s wanting a man who will love her selflessly, or if she’s wishing she can find a man that she can love selflessly. Either way, it’s a beautiful message, with Krauss’ vocal capturing the bittersweet longing the lyric demands.
Listen: Simple Love
Buy: Simple Love