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October 23

Alison Krauss Singing The Perfect Love Ballad “When You Say Nothing at All”

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Guess everyone would agree that “When You Say Nothing at All” is one of the most timeless country songs out there. It is one of the most well-loved songs to come out of 1988.

And in 1995, an amazing thing happened. The blue-grass country singer covered the song with the group Union Station off the tribute album to Whitley, Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album. Krauss’ cover quickly started receiving unsolicited airplay.

Its success caught Krauss by surprise. “It’s a freak thing,” she said in an interview. “It’s kinda ticklin’ us all. We haven’t had anything really chart before. At all. Isn’t it funny, though? We don’t know what’s goin’ on…The office said, ‘Hey, it’s charting,’ and we’re like, ‘Huh?'”

Krauss’ “When You Say Nothing at All” went on winning the 1995 CMA award for Single of the Year. It has also been featured several times in the soap opera The Young and the Restless and was even used in the 1999 motion picture “The Other Sister.” The song has since sold nearly 500,000 digital downloads as of 2017.

Indeed, “When You Say Nothing at All” has absolutely endured over the years.

You Shouldn’t Miss This Song Being One Of The Greatest Love Songs Of All Time

Written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, “When You Say Nothing at All” describes how a loved one could communicate best “without saying a word.”

“The smile on your face lets me know that you need me. There’s a truth in your eyes saying you’ll never leave me. The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me wherever I fall. You say it best when you say nothing at all,” the song goes.

Overstreet and Schlitz came up with the song at the end of what seems to be an unproductive day. While strumming a guitar, trying to write their next song, the duo was coming up empty. “As we tried to find another way to say nothing, we came up with the song,” Overstreet said. They thought the song was fine, but nothing special. 

However, when Keith Whitley heard it, he loved it and could not let it get away. In 1988, Whitley released the song, and it surprisingly entered the Hot Country Singles chart at No. 61. The song then gradually rose to the top, where it stayed for two weeks at the end of the year.

“Keith did a great job singin’ that song,” Schlitz said. “He truly sang it from the heart.” CMT later ranked Whitley’s version as the 12th greatest country love song of all time. Sadly, a few months after Whitley released “When You Say Nothing at All,” the country music artists passed away. His death left a void in the entire country community, as countless mourned for the loss of a talented singer who still had so much potential.

And we’re glad Krauss keeps the legacy alive. Tune in below and enjoy listening to Krauss as she sings one of the greatest love songs of all time!


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Alison Krauss


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