If you’re in the mood for a whiskey-soaked, classic country heartbreak song, Trisha Yearwood got one for you.
The two-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year released “Workin on Whiskey” in 2019 as the opening track of her album, Every Girl. And for some added treat, it featured harmony vocals from Yearwood’s friend, Kelly Clarkson. Indeed, the song paired up two of the strongest female voices in the music industry.
Yearwood Wrestling With Heartache And Shadows From The Past
Written by Jessica Mitchell, Dave Thompson, and Patricia Conroy, “Workin’ on Whiskey” is a song about “a situation you want to change, but can’t,” Yearwood said in a press release. Yearwood wrestles with heartache and shadows from the past in this emotional power ballad.
Backed by keening guitars, Yearwood’s vocals move from delicately tender to powerfully agonizing as she equates romance with hard liquor.
“I start seein’ things I shouldn’t see. And wanting things I shouldn’t be. And wrestlin’ with the memory. That won’t let me go. I’ve tried and tried to give you up. But once you’ve had the strong stuff. Nothin’ else will be enough, so I’ll be workin’ on whiskey,” she sings.
Yearwood’s solo vocal performance – with her soaring, crystal-clear vocals full of soul – carried the first two verses and the first chorus. Kelly Clarkson then joined her to provide richly textured harmony vocals in the second chorus, giving the back end of the song a thrilling lift as the weeping steel guitar also builds to a climax.
“Workin’ on Whiskey” is absolutely an epic emotional standout delivered by two of the best.
Yearwood compares Clarkson to a “unicorn” who is “always on pitch. She comes in, and she nails it. When you want that strong, soaring harmony, nobody does it like her. She’s just a little sister — fun and with all this energy.” In addition to “Workin’ on Whiskey,” Clarkson also appeared on another track from the Yearwood’s album titled “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.”
Every Girl was Yearwood’s fifteenth studio recording, and it comes at a time when the discussion about women in country music turned to their faded presence. In fact, Yearwood said that the country music industry had changed a lot for women — and unfortunately, it’s not for the better.
“I wasn’t going to submit the album to radio; I didn’t know what the game was anymore,” she said.
When she began making music in the early 1990s, plenty of women were making country albums. “But something has gone the other way,” Yearwood added. “That’s been the hardest part — trying to understand why that’s happening.”
On the brighter side, she sees positive things happening; this includes younger singers paying homage to the older artists. “I feel like we’re in this together,” she said. “We’re often pitted against each other, but when we join together, we’re a force to reckon with.”
Tune in below and listen to “Workin’ on Whiskey” from two of the most powerful voices in country music.
Kelly Clarkson, trisha yearwood