Hidden Gem: Chris Stapleton’s “Whiskey and You”

chris stapleton traveller

If you haven’t heard Chris Stapleton sing his emotionally wrought “Whiskey and You,” written with Lee Thomas Miller, make it the first on your list today. Tim McGraw recorded the song in 2007 on Let It Go, and while he more than did the song justice, there’s something hauntingly raw about his recording of it on his recent solo debut album and masterpiece Traveller

“We tried a couple different ways to record that song,” he told us in a recent interview. “It’s a song that I played for a long time at songwriter rounds, and in different places, a song that people who came to watch me play shows wanted me to play, but there wasn’t a recorded version anywhere for anybody to have. So when we got down to the final mixing process of the entire record, that song hadn’t made it yet, and I said, ‘You know what guys, let’s go throw up a microphone.’ And so that’s just me and a guitar on the microphone. That’s kind of the way it was originally, and I felt like it was probably the way that it should live on a record.”

Stapleton is a vocal force, gritty and soulful, and paired with the song’s incredible lyrics, it’s undeniably, powerfully moving. The lyrics speak for themselves, so here’s the first verse and chorus, so you can emote alongside Stapleton:

There’s a bottle on the dresser by your ring
And it’s empty so right now I don’t feel a thing
I’ll be hurtin’ when I wake up on the floor
And I’ll be over it by noon
And that’s the difference between the whiskey and you

One’s the devil, one keeps driving me insane
At times I wonder if they ain’t both the same
One’s a liar that helps to hide me from my pain
And one’s a long gone bitter truth
That’s the difference between the whiskey and you

Here’s both Stapleton and McGraw’s recordings of the song: