There are numerous songs written about bourbon or with bourbon as a major theme in the lyrics. Most of them reside in the Country genre, oddly enough. Bourbon in Kentucky by Dierks Bentley, The Best of Me by Brantley Gilbert, Alcohol by Brad Paisley, Whiskey’d Up by Jason Aldean and The Bartender by Blake Shelton are several I can recall off the top of my head. I think there is even one Brad Paisley song, Perfect Storm, that mentions single barreled bourbon on ice! Good on ya’ Brad. Clearly you’re an educated bourbon drinker. Maybe even a Bouboneer☺. I am not sure what all these bourbon songs say about the state of country music and their individual livers, but I know I enjoy listening.
But country music isn’t the only genre that croons about the delicious brown water. Janis Joplin sang about it in 1975 in What Good can Drinkin’ Do. The Killers used bourbon in the title of their song, Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf and Kid Rock even sings about it in his song, Johnny Cash. The list truly goes on and on. Obviously bourbon makes people want to be creative and write. I, as the Bourboneer, couldn’t agree more. However, for me personally, there are few songs specifically that touch off my desire to have a drink. The first, is a classic from George Thorogood. Of course I am referring to my college anthem, One Bourbon, One Scotch, One beer. The second is a lesser known tune sung by the Wrinkle Neck Mules called 17 Miles of Bourbon. The lyrics tell the story of the May 2000 Wild Turkey distillery fire where 17,000 barrels of flaming bourbon burnt down portions of the distillery, destroyed the nearby woods, exploded area limestone deposits and contaminated the Kentucky river. This song happens to be one of my favorites. Not just for the sake of the title and story but because it has a bluegrass and rock-a-billy sound to it which I enjoy. It’s different but no less stirring. Lastly and much more recently, Chris Stapleton’s Tennessee Whiskey has spurred my desire to imbibe. Kind of a melancholy offering but what a great song!
There are songs that make me want to drink bourbon and then there are songs that I enjoy drinking bourbon by. Oh yes, there is a difference, not a huge difference considering I am still consuming a decent amount of bourbon. Semantics I guess you could say. However, when I am sipping bourbon, or to be more precise, when I am sipping two fingers of Blanton’s chilled by a solitary ice cube, my ear tends to favor the more bluesy, piano lounge type of sound. Various tunes from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, add in some Diana Krall and top it off with Norah Jones and you have created my ultimate bourbon drinking atmosphere. No specific songs in particular mind you, well Dean Martin’s version of Pennies from Heaven changed to Bourbon From Heaven certainly sets the tone. But just low light, those soft voices and the ambient, gentle piano in the background exuding relaxation and chill. To me, I can’t think of a more conducive environment to drink bourbon…can you?
Now that’s what I am talking about!
What’s your favorite bourbon music?
6 thoughts on “Bourbon Man’s Ballads”
Couldn’t agree more about the Rat Pack and smooth jazz going well with Bourbon. In fact, I’m not sure there’s a better late night, drinking alone song, than “One for my Baby (and one more for the Road)” by the Chairman himself.
One minor quibble, and with bourbon they are all minor, try the George Jones original of Tennessee Whisky with something with a good amount of rye, neat.
I’m unfamiliar with the Wrinkle Neck Mules, but I will remedy that shortly.
One for my baby is certainly on the list. Definitely listen to the Mules. It’s an acquired taste but great American music
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“Hey, Whiskey” by Smithfield
“Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Anything by Chris Stapleton
Most songs by Whiskey Myers (and not just because Whiskey is in the name!)
Several songs by The Eagles
Good ole Frank and Dean
Very nice selections!
Hmmm, a good one. A lot of music becomes good “bourbon music” after a few drinks. But there’s something about Bourbon in Your Eyes that hits the right mood. 🙂
Can’t argue with that!
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