“Holes in the Floor of Heaven”
Written by Billy Kirsch and Steve Wariner
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
May 22, 1998
Steve Wariner’s comeback peaks with an award-winning single.
The Road to No. 1
After I am Ready became Wariner’s first gold album, he released Drive, his second Arista set. It produced the top ten hit “If I Didn’t Love You,” the top thirty hit “Drivin’ and Cryin’,” and the top twenty hit “It Won’t Be Over You.” Wariner exited the label after completing one of his dream projects: the instrumental set No More Mr. Nice Guy. Wariner came back big in the late nineties, appearing in this feature three times already in just the past few months: as duet partner on Anita Cochran’s “What if I Said,” as co-writer of Clint Black’s “Nothin’ But the Taillights,” and as both co-writer and harmony singer on Garth Brooks’ “Longneck Bottle.” That last collaboration was influential in Wariner landing a deal with Capitol Nashville, and his most recent No. 1 single is his debut release for that label.
The No. 1
It was impossible not to get on board with Wariner’s big comeback. He’d been an underrated artist for years, and him having the biggest commercial success of his career on Capitol was amazing to watch. I remember being fully on board with “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” and being so happy when he won Single and Song of the Year at the CMA Awards for it.
I also remember reading a review of The Essential Dottie West in New Country magazine in the mid-nineties, and the writer observing that nothing ages worse than yesterday’s sentimentality. All these years later, this doesn’t have the same emotional impact. It feels as cloying as “Don’t Take the Girl,” honestly.
However, an advantage of the Wariner track over that Tim McGraw hit is that Wariner was a studio veteran when he recorded it, and he gives an understated performance that doesn’t try to wring the tears out of its listeners.
So while the song’s conceit feels terribly clunky and dated, Wariner’s delivery of it still holds up, even if it isn’t the classic record it seemed like it could be back in the day.
The Road From No. 1
Burnin’ the Roadhouse Down became Wariner’s second gold album on the strength of this single, as well as the top thirty title track, which reunited Wariner with Brooks. Wariner repeated that sales success with Two Teardrops, his third and final gold album to date. It included the top five title track and a top five cover of one of his earliest singles, “I’m Already Taken.” Wariner also had a big hit in 2000 with Clint Black, going top five with their duet, “Been There.” He had two more top thirty hits for Capitol, both from his swan song from the label, Faith in You. But his award show streak stayed hot well into the new millenium, as he picked up multiple Grammy awards in the now-defunct Best Country Instrumental Performance category.
Since leaving the major label ecosystem, Wariner has released multiple vocal and instrumental albums on SelecTone Records, the most recent being his third holiday release, 2021’s Feels Like Christmas Time.
“Holes in the Floor of Heaven” gets a B.
Previous: Faith Hill, “This Kiss” |