Chelsea Thompson

Rooted in Country: Harper Grae on Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss' 'Whiskey Lullaby'


From chronicling her her difficult upbringing in "Monster" to sharing the pain of a pregnancy loss in "Still Your Mother," rising country singer-songwriter Harper Grae has always written songs straight from the heart. Grae says country songs that tell the truth -- no matter how painful -- are the songs she's been drawn to since she was a young dreamer growing up in the small town of Reeltown, Alabama.

In fact, the heartwrenching story-song "Whiskey Lullaby," written by Bill Anderson and Jon Randall and recorded by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, inspired Grae to be fearless as a songwriter and performer.

"'Whiskey Lullaby' inspired me at a very early age to be unafraid to write about what I know -- from the melodies, to the harmonies, to the story," Grae tells Wide Open Country. "My little soul was holding onto every moment of that song, while singing it at the top of my lungs down the long, hot Alabama roads. Still to this day, when I hear this song come on, I am brought back to where my love for country music began."


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Grae, a member of the CMT Next Women of Country class of 2021, released "Still Your Mother" earlier this year. The song was written about Grae's experience of suffering a miscarriage nearly a decade ago.

Grae is now expecting her "rainbow baby" with her wife Dawn Gates.


Grae was born Shanna Henderson but took the name Harper Grae in 2017. Harper is in honor of her grandparents' last name and the name 'Grae' is an acronym for "God Redeems All Equally."

In 2012, Grae took part in the second season of The Glee Project, a combination reality show and musical talent competition by the producers of the hit series Glee.

Grae released her first full length album, Break Your Crowns, in 2017. The following year, she released the four-song EP Buck Moon Melodies.

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