A Country Music Conversation, Day 23: “Walking Away a Winner” to “Whiskey Lullaby”

A Country Music Conversation: Introduction and Index

Previous Entry: Day 22: “Take a Little Pill” to “Wake Up Older”

Day 23 features tracks from Kathy Mattea, Alabama, Billy Dean, Trisha Yearwood, and Brad Paisley (with Alison Krauss).

“Walking Away a Winner”
Kathy Mattea

Written by Bob DiPiero and Tom Shapiro

Kathy Mattea’s last big radio has an energy to it that still resonates today. It’s one of those strong woman songs that communicates greater resolve by acknowledging vulnerability at the same time.

Other Favorites: “Where’ve You Been,” “Lonesome Standard Time,” “Loving You, Letting You Go”

“We Can’t Love Like This Anymore”

Written by John Jarrard and Wendell Mobley

A perfect heartbreak ballad that showcases Randy Owen’s underrated skills as a vocalist. I can’t think of another song in their catalog that is so subtle yet so powerful.

Other Favorites: “Song of the South,” “I’m in a Hurry (and Don’t Know Why),” “Forty Hour Week (For a Livin’)”

“We Just Disagree”
Billy Dean

Written by Jim Krueger

The connection between seventies AM Rock and nineties country music was made most explicit by the latter decade’s Eagles revival, but this Billy Dean cover of an old Dave Mason hit makes the point just as well. Dean’s version would’ve been a rock hit in the seventies, and Mason’s a country hit in the nineties. They’re interchangeable.

Other Favorites: “Somewhere in My Broken Heart,” “Only the Wind,” “Only Here For a Little While”

“Where are You Now”
Trisha Yearwood

Written by Mary Chapin Carpenter and Kim Richey

If play counts quantify who your favorite artist is, Trisha Yearwood is mine by a wide margin. There hasn’t been an another artist in my lifetime with her combination of song sense and vocal talent. I still remember my stunned reaction to “Where are You Now” when I heard it for the first time sixteen years ago. I love it just as much today.

Other Favorites: “The Song Remembers When,” “I Don’t Paint Myself into Corners,” “Wrong Side of Memphis”

“Whiskey Lullaby” (with Alison Krauss)
Brad Paisley

Written by Bill Anderson and Jon Randall

I didn’t really agree with most of Brad Paisley’s hit, “This is Country Music,” where he rattled off things that are allegedly only sung about in his own genre. But a song about a double suicide through drinking too much whiskey? That’s gotta be exclusive to country music.

Other Favorites: “Alcohol,” “Waitin’ On a Woman,” “Letter to Me”

Up Next: Day 24: “Whole Lotta Love On the Line” to “You Don’t Seem to Miss Me”


  1. Kathy Mattea: besides Walking Away a Winner and Where’ve You Been, I’d add Summer of My Dreams, 33,45,78(record time) and 18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses.

    Alabama: Old Flame, Forever’s As Far as I’ll Go, Forty Hour Week, Angels Among Us and I Taught Her Everything She Knows

    Billy Dean: Somewhere in My Broken Heart, Saturday Night, Play Something We Can Dance To, Only Here for a Little While, Let Them Be Little

    Tricia Yearwood: On a Bus to St. Cloud, Song Remembers When, Hearts in Armor, Dreaming Fields and Standing Out in a Crowd

  2. I wasn’t as big of an Alabama fan as most from my generation but I did love Old Flame, Feels So Right, Love In the First Degree, She And I, and There’s No Way.

    Yearwood – Wrong Side of Memphis, Walkaway Joe, Believe Me Baby I Lied, There Goes My Baby, and the beautiful duet with Josh Turner Another Try

    Paisley – I’m Gonna Miss Her, Wrapped Around, Mud On the Tires, When I Get Where I’m Going, I’m Still a Guy, and Waitin’ On a Woman

  3. Re. “We Just Disagree”–for those who might be interested in knowing, Dave Mason, who had the original pop hit with in 1977, was a member of the late 60s/early 70s British progressive rock band Traffic, with Steve Winwood.

    Trisha favorites: “Love Let Go”; “The Song Remembers When”; “They Call It Falling For A Reason”; “Mr. Radio”; “Try Me Again” (the last two are covers of her spiritual role model Linda Ronstadt, with “Try Me Again” being one that Linda actually co-wrote with her longtime sideman, the late Andrew Gold). I really hope that she is recognized by the industry for her singular individual achievements as a singer, and not merely as “Mrs. Garth Brooks”.

  4. I’ve never really thought of some of these artists (Alabama, Dean, Paisley) as being among my favorites, but I was still able to find a number of their songs with multiple plays in my iTunes library.

    Kathy Mattea – Standing Knee Deep in a River (Dying of Thirst), Love at the Five & Dime, Maybe She’s Human, Who’s Gonna Know, Seeds
    Alabama – Why Lady Why, Can’t Keep a Good Man Down, The Closer You Get, It’s All Comin’ Back to Me Now
    Billy Dean – Once in a While, It’s What I Do
    Trisha Yearwood – On a Bus to St. Cloud, I Don’t Paint Myself into Corners, Where Are You Now, Forever’s as Far as I’ll Go, Real Live Woman, The Whisper of Your Heart
    Brad Paisley – Letter to Me, Welcome to the Future, When I Get Where I’m Going

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