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HomeMusicStephen Wilson Jr. Navigates Loss in 'Grief Is Only Love' Video: Watch

Stephen Wilson Jr. Navigates Loss in ‘Grief Is Only Love’ Video: Watch

The country songwriter details the death of his father and offers a roadmap for navigating grief in a song and video off his album Son of Dad

There’s a story that Stephen Wilson Jr. likes to tell that’s essential to who he is today as an artist. When Wilson received word that his father was dying, he hopped into his car and raced home to Indiana from Tennessee to see him one last time. He didn’t make it — and instead was forced to call his father for a final conversation.

“I said goobye to my dad on an iPhone 8 in my car in the middle of Kentucky,” Wilson has said, and it’s that attention to detail — the precise location, the model of his phone — that has made his songwriting such a powerful addition to country music and his 2023 album, Son of Dad, one of the best of last year.

Ahead of Father’s Day this Sunday, Wilson has released a video for “Grief Is Only Love” that pays homage to both the memory of his hurried drive home and to his father. “His last words to me were ‘Write a good song for me’ and then he said, ‘I love you’ four times,” Wilson says.

Directed by Stephen Kinigopoulos and Alexa Stone, the video re-creates moments from Wilson’s life, including being taught to box by his dad, and casts the singer-songwriter as an unseen narrator, ghostly riding in the back of a car as his onscreen self makes the drive back to Indiana.


In a weekend sure to be full of greeting-card platitudes, “Grief Is Only Love” delivers a more powerful and realistic message. “So hang on to the hurtin’ and let it grab ahold/ and the only thing for certain is it’s out my control,” Wilson sings, “And grief is only love that’s got no place to go.”

Wilson recently wrapped up a string of tour dates opening for Hardy, along with a massive turnout for his appearance at the Railbird Festival in Kentucky. On Tuesday, he headlined a sold-out Mercury Lounge in New York and will begin a run opening for Brothers Osborne tonight in Columbus, Ohio.

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