We’ve got our closest matchup to date.
For our 6th Annual Whiskey Riff Madness tournament – or as we’re calling this one, March Sadness, we paired up 64 all-time great sad country songs and let you, the readers, vote for your favorites. And judging from the results, these matchups are getting tougher and tougher.
We’re down to the Elite Eight, but before we get to the voting let’s take a look back at the action in the Sweet Sixteen.
The top overall seed, the classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” faced its first real test of the tournament going up against Chris Stapleton’s tearjerker “Maggie’s Song.” But at the end of the day, the Possum ended up moving on and securing a spot in the next round for one of the greatest country songs of all time.
And unlike the NCAA tournament, March Sadness has two #1 seeds left in the Elite Eight, with “Whiskey Lullaby” securing nearly 70% of the vote against Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl.”
Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes” also put on a strong performance, and easily took down Hank Williams Jr.’s “Weatherman,” which surprised me a little bit because I expected that to be a tight matchup.
But speaking of tight matchups, we had some that came right down to the wire.
Zach Bryan’s “Billy Stay” put up a strong fight against Garth Brooks’ “The Dance,” but that dad energy from Garth was just too much for the young buck, ending Zach’s run at the Sweet Sixteen.
The closest matchup of the round – and of the entire tournament so far – came from a battle of two heavyweights: Randy Travis with “Three Wooden Crosses” and Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt.” Since voting opened, the two songs were never separated by more than 2%, and the final score ended with a margin of only 29 votes – with the Man in Black taking down Randy Travis and moving on to the next round.
There were also a few pretty big upsets this round. The Willie Nelson classic “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” fell to Tyler Childers’ “Follow You to Virgie,” and Whiskey Myers fans once again showed up in force to push “Broken Window Serenade” past the #1 seed, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams.
And Riley Green continues his absolute Cinderella run with “I Wish Grandpas Never Died,” shocking the world (ok maybe just me) by knocking out Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December.” Gotta say, I didn’t call that one.
So there you have the Elite Eight. And now it’s time to vote.
Here’s a look at the updated bracket:
That battle between “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “Don’t Close Your Eyes” is one for the ages. And Whiskey Myers fans always show up big for their boys, but will it be enough to take down Johnny Cash? Can Riley Green continue his absolutely incredible run from #16 seed to the Final Four?
We’re about to find out.
Voting is open now, and you have until 11:59 PM CDT on Monday, March 27 to get your votes in. As always, you can vote as many times as you want either down below or by clicking the link here.
We’re getting down to the wire now, and every vote counts. Let’s see who can come out on top.