Vern Gosdin, “Chiseled in Stone”

One of the hallmarks of a great country song (or any great song) is its ability to evoke an emotional reaction, whether it’s one of joy or one of sorrow. The late Vern Gosdin’s 1988 hit “Chiseled in Stone,” co-written by Gosdin and late songwriter Max D. Barnes, is one of the legendary tearjerkers in country history because of the story behind the Barnes-inspired lyric, and because of the emotional delivery of the man nicknamed “The Voice.” The song’s opening premise in the first verse is that a man having domestic troubles meets an older man in a bar who basically tells him to cherish his relationship while he can. Then the chorus leads to the cemetery-based title: You don’t know about lonely/ Or how long nights can be‘Til you've lived through the story/ That’s still livin’ in meYou don't know about sadness/ ’Til you've faced life aloneYou don't know about lonely/ ’Til it’s chiseled in stone That iconic chorus is based on the true story of Max D. Barnes and his family, who lost their 18-year-old son and brother, Butch, in an auto accident in 1975. Max T. Barnes, who himself became a major Nashville songwriter, is Max D.…

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