There is a new feature story in the Washington Post all about the link between alcohol and country music. It’s packed with observations, analysis, history, statistics, and even a 25-song playlist of modern drinkin’ songs. It’s an educated look at the who, what, why, when and where of all the ways that country music is drowning in drinking songs.
But the part that says so much to me is this quote from Dierks Bentley:
“I know what’s going on at my shows. People are coming out to blow off steam and have a great time. I’m kind of like the lead bartender: Jumping up on the bar table, drinking shots with you and singing ballads with you like at an old Irish pub somewhere,” Bentley told the newspaper.
So while the party themes may seem controversial to people who disapprove of that lifestyle, when you look at it the way Bentley does, it’s pretty easy to swallow the connection between booze and boozey tunes.
The story also shines a light on Florida Georgia Line’s love for Fireball whiskey, as evidenced by the lyrics in their 2013 hit “Round Here”: That Fireball whiskey whispers temptation in my ear.
“We reached out (to Fireball) and asked how it benefited them, and they said it was pretty drastic,” the duo’s Tyler Hubbard said. “That made us feel good. But also, it made us think, why don’t we start our own brand?” Which is how their Old Camp peach pecan whiskey was born, and now that’s the brand they’re inserting into their lyrics.
More proof that the trend is going strong — and is here to stay — is when country singers branch out of the Friday-night-feelin’-alright kind of drinking songs, and go down the here-to-drown-the-heartbreak path. That’s the case in the latest modern drinking song, Randy Houser’s brand new ballad “What Whiskey Does,” where he determines that after he drinks this hole in the wall outta beer, he’s gonna let that whiskey do what whiskey does.