While Keith Whitley’s solo career only spanned five years, tragically cut short by his sudden death in 1989, his impact was undeniably immense. Even those who don’t really listen to country music may have come across at least one or two Keith Whitley songs just like his five number-one hits: “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “When You Say Nothing At All,” “I’m No Stranger to the Rain,” “I Wonder Do You Think of Me,” and “It Ain’t Nothin’.” Or maybe it was one of his final songs, “Between an Old Memory and Me.”
The song, written by Keith Stegall and Charlie Craig and produced by Whitley and Garth Fundis, was included in the singer’s 1989 album I Wonder Do You Think of Me. Though it didn’t chart, it was a terrific song that stood the test of time.
Travis Tritt covered the song in 1994 and sent it to number 11 on the Hot Country Singles chart.
Meaning Behind the Song
The country genre is inextricably linked to drinking songs. As Emily Yahr of The Washington Post wrote, “The two have gone hand-in-hand for decades, thanks in part to the so-called “tear in your beer” songs that helped make the format famous.”
Whitley’s “Between an Old Memory and Me” is one of those drinking-themed country songs.
As he sang in the opening, he was sittin’ at a little club downtown, he played songs on the jukebox and poured his whiskey down. And then, he heard a sweet voice asking him if he wanted some company. But he refused and told her it was between an old memory and him.
That was because he couldn’t – and didn’t want to – let go of his past lover and their memories together. His friends had told him he was a fool for holding on. And while he knew that they were just helping him out, he was already a fool for too long. He said, “Oh, I’m not hurtin’ anybody, yeah / As far as I can see, I just need to be alone sometimes.”
And he didn’t want to talk about it, too. He just wanted to drown his feelings with whiskey.
If you need a good song to pour your heart into (and your whiskey down), listen to Keith Whitley’s “Between an Old Memory and Me” below.