This Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove penned song was originally recorded by American country music artist David Allan Coe. His version peaked at #77 on the country chart in 1981. The track was covered two years later by George Jones, whose version reached #2 on the country chart in November 1983 and became a mainstay in his live set.
Chris Stapleton recorded a bluesy cover for his debut solo album, Traveller, in 2015 at the suggestion of his producer, Dave Robb. He recalled to Billboard magazine: "The guys in the band and I were in Charlottesville, Virginia, waiting to set up microphones and started playing in that groove. I just was really enjoying it and started singing 'Tennessee Whiskey' on top of it, trying to make it something new." "We liked it so much, we played it that night - and every night since. When we started to record, we used it as a warm-up song. Dave said, 'We need to do that right now.' That's what you hear."
Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake sang a medley of this track and Timberlake's "Drink You Away" at the 2015 CMAs. It proved to be a breakthrough night for Stapleton as he won the CMA trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year, New Artist of the Year and Album of the Year (for Traveller). The interest generated from his performance resulted in "Tennessee Whiskey" ranking as the second-largest selling digital song the following week, with 131,000 downloads sold. The Stapleton-Timberlake double act wasn't something the CMA producers just threw together. Stapleton told Billboard magazine: "We've known each other for a couple of years. His wife had called me to fly out for his birthday party and wanted me to play. That was our first meeting, and we kept up with each other after that."
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