Story Behind the Song: Steel Magnolia, ‘Keep on Lovin’ You’
In 2010, Steel Magnolia -- Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones, then a couple -- scored a Top 5 country hit with their debut single, "Keep on Lovin' You." Released in September of 2009, the song was co-written by hit country writer Trent Willmon and now-superstar Chris Stapleton.
At the time, Stapleton was in the bluegrass band the SteelDrivers and well known around Nashville, but not nationally; however, songwriting came naturally for him, as Willmon recalls to The Boot. Read on to learn the story behind "Keep on Lovin' You," in Willmon's words.
Chris is about my favorite person to write with. He the best singer in Nashville by far. He just has a way with melodies. It seems like, whenever he starts singing, whatever words come out of his mouth sound like a song.
The title was something that just fell out of Chris' mouth. He picked up his old Gibson guitar that is maybe 60 years old, and he just started singing [the lyrics]. It really didn't take long; we wrote it in probably a couple of hours. It was just one of those days.
Originally, the song was kind of a slower groove, kind of a Josh Turner-type song. When Chris sang the song on the worktape, it sounded great.
A couple of months had gone by, and we never demoed the song. I started playing it for my band down in Texas, because I was looking for new songs to do. We were in Corpus Christi at soundcheck, and we worked up the song. We had a couple of hours to kill.
Just because of the nature of my band, it ended up sounding like Los Lonely Boys and Otis Redding. I played it out live for over a year. When we finally went in to demo the song, I talked to Chris about being there at the demo session, but he had to be out of town. I just cut it like my band.
Chris came back later and sang it on the demo, and it just came to life. It was a totally different song than it was when we wrote it. It had a really uptempo thing instead of a slow, sweet groove; it was a fun, upbeat, R&B groove.
In the long run, it was a perfect song for Steel Magnolia.
This story was originally written Alanna Conaway, and revised by Angela Stefano.
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