Music

'When I Get Where I'm Going': The Story Behind Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton's Heavenly Tune

Screengrab via YouTube

Brad Paisley has been one of the biggest names in country music for the past two decades. He's had his fair share of solid duets over the years, but we're partial to his 2005 collaboration with Dolly Parton from his album Time Well Wasted, "When I Get Where I'm Going." It was Paisley's fifth No. 1 hit and Dolly's 25th, and the message was personally important to both country stars. 

The song was written by songwriters George Teren and Rivers Rutherford, inspired by Rutherford's desire to see his grandfather again one day after his passing. It also had a lot of personal meaning for Paisley, who had recently lost an aunt to cancer. Part of the reason why the song ended up resonating with listeners is that it's a really simple but impactful message. Dolly herself had recently lost a close friend, which was part of the reason she wanted to be involved with the song.

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We've all lost people close to us. And that's what made the music video so impactful. There were various notable names featured holding photos of their lost loved ones including Michael Reagan, Teresa Earnhardt, John Carter Cash, Pixar director John Lasseter, and even Dolly Parton herself, though she isn't featuring singing in the video. 

"When I Get Where I'm Going" went on to win two Academy of Country Music Awards for Video of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year, and a Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year. It hit No. 1 on the country Billboard chart and  charted on the pop charts, proving that listeners across genres can all relate to this poignant message.

"When I Get Where I'm Going" Lyrics

When I get where I'm going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I'm gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly
I'm gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it's like
To ride a drop of rain
Yeah, when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah, when I get where I'm going
Don't cry for me down here
I'm gonna walk with my grandaddy
And he'll match me step for step
And I'll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
And then I'll hug his neck
Yeah, when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah, when I get where I'm going
Don't cry for me down here
So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can't answer
So much work to do
But when I get where I'm going
And I see my Maker's face
I'll stand forever in the light
Of His amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I'm going
Oh when I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears
Hallelujah
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I'm going
Yeah, when I get where I'm going

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'When I Get Where I'm Going': The Story Behind Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton's Heavenly Tune