Singer-songwriter Erin Enderlin’s gift for vivid storytelling, which comes as much from the country tradition of the Louvin Brothers as it does from the Southern novels of William Faulkner, has helped the Conway, Arkansas, native weave memorable tales for such artists as Lee Ann Womack (“Last Call”), Luke Bryan (“You Don’t Know Jack”) and recent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Alan Jackson, for whom she penned the heart-rending “Monday Morning Church” in 2004.
While that tune was a Top Five hit for the Georgia-born country superstar, one of Jackson’s best-known tunes, “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” was also one of his earliest, and as such had a lasting influence on Enderlin, its lyrics springing from a comment Jackson’s bass player made to him after seeing the lanky singer leaning on a jukebox that was already unstable from a broken leg. Turning the word “rock” from an action verb into musical genre, the song became a Number One country smash in 1991, and remains one of Jackson’s most influential hits.
“Alan Jackson is the consummate country music artist,” Enderlin tells Rolling Stone Country. “He has songs that make you feel something, really feel it. I really admire his body of work and his commitment to traditional country music. To know that he thought enough of one of my songs to record it means a lot to me – he was the first to take one of my songs and it’s the reason I get to do what I love. I’m so excited for his inclusion in the Country Music Hall of Fame and I thought there’d be no better way to honor him than sing one of my favorite songs of his. Congratulations Alan, and thank you for all the amazing music!”
Enderlin revisits “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” in the acoustic performance above with Kimberly Kelly on mandolin, handling the vocals on the verses and adding harmony throughout. The result is a raw, deliberate take on the iconic tune. Slowing the tempo down slightly adds yet another dimension to the song’s ultimate message: that sometimes only stone-country music will do. The clip is the latest in the Bud Light Basement series, which previously spotlighted performances from up-and-coming artists Mitchell Tenpenny and Alex Williams.
Enderlin’s latest album, Whiskeytown Crier, produced by Jamey Johnson, features one of her first Nashville roommates, Chris Stapleton, and a duet with Randy Houser, as well as covers of songs by Gram Parsons (“Hickory Wind”) and Tammy Wynette (“Till I Can Make It in My Own”). The LP is available now.