Songwriting legend "Whisperin' Bill" Anderson's next album came out of an entirely different project: His 2016 autobiography Whisperin' Bill Anderson: An Unprecedented Life in Country Music. When singer, songwriter and producer Thomm Jutz added his playing -- specifically, the melody of "Whiskey Lullaby" -- to the audiobook version of that work, Anderson was inspired.

The tragic, heart-wrenching song became the impetus for a new album from Anderson, of re-recorded versions of some of his biggest and best-loved songs, both those he's written for others and those he's recorded himself. Ahead of that new record's release, Anderson is giving The Boot's readers a first listen to his newest version of "Whiskey Lullaby;" press play below to listen.

Anderson co-wrote "Whiskey Lullaby" with fellow tunesmith Jon Randall, who, at the time, was dealing with -- or, rather, not dealing with -- some personal and career struggles. As Anderson told The Boot years ago, "he went over to a friend's house and crashed for a couple of weeks."

After sobering up, Anderson recounts, Randall apologized to that friend, who told him, "That's alright, Jon; I've put the bottle to my head and pulled the trigger a few times in my life." That incredible phrasing, along with a song title Anderson brought to the table, "Midnight Cigarette," held the key to "Whiskey Lullaby."

Originally recorded by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, "Whiskey Lullaby" was an absolute stunner: After being released March of 2004 as the third single off of Paisley's Mud on the Tires album, it reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been certified double platinum and won Song of the Year at the 2005 CMA Awards, too.

"[This new version has] everything I wanted except Alison Krauss singing her part!” Anderson quips.

Anderson's next album, The Hits Re-Imagined, is due out on July 24. His 73rd career record, the project features 10 songs, in both vocal and instrumental-only form. In addition to "Whiskey Lullaby," the album also includes "Give It Away," "Still," "I'll Wait for You" and more.

Throughout his lengthy and lauded career, Anderson has notched seven No. 1 singles and 29 Top 10 singles; in fact, he has earned an entry on the country charts in seven consecutive decades, a record among songwriters. Anderson is also a Grand Ole Opry member of more than 50 years and a Country Music Hall of Famer since 2001.

Listen to Bill Anderson's "Whiskey Lullaby"

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