Music

Chris Stapleton Performed Heartbreaking Tribute to Family Dog, 'Maggie's Song,' With Miranda Lambert at the 2021 ACM Awards

Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP and Chris Stapleton/ Instagram

Chris Stapleton's 2020 album Starting Over brought us one of the saddest country tunes known to man's best friend, "Maggie's Song."

Stapleton tells the story of his late dog, from when he found her in a parking lot to the day he said goodbye to a member of the family. Though it's not a runaway country hit, "Maggie's Song" might just be the best evidence to date that Stapleton's among the best Nashville songwriters of his generation.

If you haven't heard this one yet, prepare to bawl your eyes out. It sounds a lot like "The Weight" by The Band, if that song dealt with the 2019 loss of a Stapleton family pet. And listening to it ahead of time probably didn't make the lyrics any less sad when Stapleton and surprise guest Miranda Lambert sang them at the Bluebird Cafe during the 2021 ACM Awards (aired by CBS on April 18).

As reported by The Boot, Stapleton's wife Morgane was originally scheduled for the duet, but she had to step away due to a prior doula commitment. Who better to fill that seat than a dog lover and vocalist the caliber of Lambert?

Stapleton shared a photo of the song's inspiration on Instagram.

Read More: Mickey Guyton, Luke Combs, Kenny Chesney, Thomas Rhett + More Slated For ACM (Academy of Country Music) Awards Performances

Starting Over won the 2021 ACM award for Album of the Year. Stapleton was also nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Male Artist of the Year and Song of the Year (for title track "Starting Over").

The album features longtime fan favorite "You Should Probably Leave" and recent single "Arkansas."

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"Maggie's Song" Lyrics

Let me tell you a story
About an old friend of mine
Somebody left her in a shopping cart
In a parking lot for us to find

Just a fuzzy black pup
She was hungry and feeling alone
We put her in the back seat
Told her we were taking her home

Run, Maggie run
With the heart of a rebel child
Oh, run, Maggie run
Be just as free as you are wild

A few kids later
We moved out on the farm
And she followed those kids around
Yeah, she kept them safe from harm

And she loved to chase squirrels
And playing out in the snow
She'd take off like a bullet
Man, you should have seen her go

Run, Maggie, run
With the heart of a rebel child
Oh, run, Maggie run
Be just as free as you are wild

It was raining on a Monday
The day that Maggie died
She woke up and couldn't use her legs
So I laid down by her side

She put her head on my hand
Like she'd done so many times
I told her she was a good dog
Then I told her goodbye

Run, Maggie run
With the heart of a rebel child
Oh, run, Maggie run
Be just as free as you are wild

I had a revelation
As the tractor dug a hole
I can tell you right now
That a dog has a soul

And I thought to myself
As we buried her on the hill
I never knew me a better dog
And I guess I never will

Run, Maggie run
With the heart of a rebel child
Oh, run, Maggie run
Be just as free as you are wild

Oh, run, Maggie  run
With the heart of a rebel child
Oh, run, Maggie run
Be just as free as you are wild

Now Watch: Chris and Morgane Stapleton's Love Story

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Chris Stapleton Performed Heartbreaking Tribute to Family Dog, 'Maggie's Song,' With Miranda Lambert at the 2021 ACM Awards