Mandy Barnett sings as if Kris Kristofferson pulled the lyrics to "Help Me Make It Through the Night" from her experiences during a cover of the 50-year-old, award-winning classic. A new music video — available first on Taste of Country — matches her lonesome.

Find Barnett alone in front of projected images of the sky, space and fire — all concepts much larger than any of us — when she's not lounging across a crimson sofa during this Erika Rock-directed music video. The recording will appear on Barnett's A Nashville Songbook album when it's released on Aug. 21. Sammi Smith made it a Grammy-winning hit in 1971, but many artists have taken a turn interpreting Kristofferson's lyrics, including Willie Nelson a decade later.

“Kris Kristofferson’s song is so special and beautiful," Barnett tells Taste of Country of a song she only sang for the first time recently. "It needed a video that conveyed a sense of loneliness and yearning, while also expressing a wistful and poignant mood."

Barnett's storytelling is familiar to country fans who've seen her star in the stage musical Always ... Patsy Cline or heard her tribute album to Cline or another to Don Gibson. A Nashville Songbook includes 13 staples from artists including Hank Williams ("I Can't Help It") and Elvis Presley ("It's Now or Never"), Roy Orbison ("It's Over") and many more. Some stay true to original arrangements, while others are personalized. Harlan Howard, Boudleaux Bryant and Bill Trader are among the many songwriters she pays tribute to.

Barnett's voice and sense of storytelling draw frequent praise. Her cross-genre catalog is rooted in classic country, with USA Today once calling her one of Nashville's finest. The Tennessee native is a frequent performer at the Grand Ole Opry, a space that would sound fine for this recording when the pandemic lifts.

"I just fell in love with singing the song," she says in a behind the scenes video. "I'm so glad that we were able to include it on this record."

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