With empowering hits including “Love Me Like You Mean It” and “Dibs,” Kelsea Ballerini has asserted her confidence and independence with heavy doses of charming cheerfulness. But, as this recent Grand Ole Opry performance proves, the 22-year-old can also mine the emotional depths of one of the most mournful country songs ever written.
“Ghost in This House” was penned by Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Hugh Prestwood, who also penned Trisha Yearwood’s Emmy-winning hit, “The Song Remembers When.” When the touching ballad of a heartbroken lover was cut by country band Shenadoah in 1990, it reached the Top Five. Yet, arguably, even though she didn’t have a radio hit with it, more people may be familiar with Alison Krauss’s chilling versions of the tune, which she recorded for her 1999 solo LP, Forget About It, and then with her band Union Station on the group’s 2002 live album. Ballerini’s poised, stripped-down Opry performance from April of this year was clearly influenced by Krauss’s arresting take on the song.
“This one caught my heart a long time ago, and this is the first time I’ve ever sung it,” Ballerini told the Opry audience before her performance, adding, “If you mess up Alison Krauss you’re voted off the island. So hopefully I do it justice.”
Ballerini has a pair of shows this weekend on the Rascal Flatts tour as well as solo shows of her own throughout the rest of the year.