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Watch Sam Grow’s Devastating Cover of ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’

2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the Bonnie Raitt hit.

Written by Chris Parton
Watch Sam Grow’s Devastating Cover of ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’
Sam Grow; Photo Credit: Dustin Haney

Newcomer Sam Grow shows a flair for the dramatic in a new cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” an acoustic rendition that’s been decades in the making.

Recorded live in a Nashville studio with Jonathan Yudkin on cello and Jay Vern on piano, Grow’s devastating version of the hit finds his bourbon-soaked vocal on full display — and full of despair. Built on twin pillars of unrequited love and bluesy hopelessness, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin), and Grow says it’s a piece of his musical foundation.

“I have been in love with this song since the moment I heard it as a kid,” he tells Sounds Like Nashville. “It wasn’t until I was older and had lived a little life that I really connected with it. This may sound depressing, but I have always loved heart-wrenching songs and that’s why I have gravitated toward a country/soul lyric. Bonnie Raitt really bared all in this one — especially from a woman’s perspective.”

The studio clip makes its official premiere today (December 18), and according to Grow, it gives potential fans a little more insight into the romantic pain behind powerful tracks like “Drink About That.”

“[‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’] is so honest and is everything I try to be as a songwriter,” he says. “Songs like this may not paint the prettiest real-life picture, but they pull at the deepest, darkest heart strings of people and help them through something. I think this is a song that will last so many generations, and it’s one song I know I’ll sing for the rest of my life.”

Grow’s Love and Whiskey Deluxe album comes out December 27. It follows the project’s original version — which debuted at No.1 on iTunes in May — and includes his “Drink About That” single.