Back in 1997, Whiskeytown, an alternative country rock band, sang “You’ll never find the answer from the bottom of a glass.” But songwriters for long have found inspiration from the very bottom of a whisky glass. Many musical genres have dabbled with whisky’s influence on lifting spirits, inspiring love connections, soothing heartbreaks, and even ruining lives. Here’s a list of ten songs that will jazz up your playlist while you enjoy the rhyme-spinning power of booze.
"If The River Was Whiskey" by Spin Doctors
When an entire album is inspired by whisky, it has to be the first to be mentioned. Bluesy rock veterans, Spin Doctors, ensured that their sixth studio album had the same features as is present in the best of whiskies—each song is mature, smooth and has an enjoyable finish. The title track, in particular, captures the imagination of a whisky lover from the core: “If the river was whiskey, you'd have no trouble drowning me.”
"Whiskey On The Rocks" by AC/DC
You know the songwriters are at a bar, jamming and drinking, when the entire song means nothing and only garbles about hard drinks and whisky cocktails—Bloody Mary, Mai Tai, Singapore Sling, Old Jamaica, Jim, and Jack. It is no wonder that AC/DC is the go-to band for party music. So, if you desire a happening party with lots of booze, music and fun, then “Set up the shooters, it's time for a drop.”
“Rye Whiskey” by Punch Brothers
Folk and country music have more than a few times been born out of boozy environments. ‘Rye Whiskey’ is testament to this statement. Remembering his broken marriage, Thile croons about the realities of being a heavy drinker. As you groove with the fiddle breakdown tunes, you will get a lesson or two about how great rye whiskey is in making things better, but it will also make “the sun set faster, makes the spirit more willing but the body weaker.”
“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” by Various Artists
In a true blue style, this blues song caught the likes of various singers, including Amos Milburn (1953), John Lee Hooker (1966), George Thorogood (1977), and even Shannon and Will, artists in the show named Glee. Written by the Rudy Toombs, who is famous for many drinking songs, like “One Mint Julep”, “Nip Sip”, and “Fat Back and Corn Likker”, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” is brilliant for its foot-tapping rhythm and poetry—“Everybody funny, now you funny too.”
Whiskey in the Jar – The Dubliners
Another song that has been a favourite among numerous singers and musical bands – “Whiskey in a Jar”, a legendary Irish folk medley, has inspired artists to spin their own versatility into it. While the Dubliners started the trend, staying true to its folksy melodies, Thin Lizzy exploited its malleability to hit the top charts with a rock and roll version. Later, Metallica twisted it even more into a slash-and-burn version, making it resonate with the hard-rock loving youth.
"Your Mama Should've Named You Whiskey" by Luke Bryan
Just as the name suggests, song writers, Jeremy Spillman, Luke Laird, and Thomas Rhett are drawing similarities between whisky and the girl whose kiss makes a guy feel buzzed and addicted. Luke Bryan lends his voice to this 2013 country style soft rock, in his album Crash My Party. You should play this song to your date, and don’t hesitate to dance and sing along, “90 proof is an understatement, I get around you and I'm way past wasted.”
“Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle
Moonshiners hold a special place in every whisky lover’s heart. This ballad-like alternative country song describes one such family that for generations dealt with producing illegal whisky, and were never found because of a certain “revenue man” and “sheriff”. Singer, song writer, Steve Earle’s raw and ragged voice and medley makes this 1988, much ahead of its time. Raise a toast to master and the moonshiners.
"Whiskey'd Up" by Jason Aldean
Now this is how whisky differentiates from beer and wine. You know the writers are talking sense when they explain how getting “whiskey’d up” makes you feel warm, smooth, and high, and brings back memories with your old girlfriend. This 2016 country number is perfect when you want to remember those times. But, if you want to move on, there’s no use thinking and wanting her again, because the “heart starts hurtin’ when that bourbon starts burning.”
"She Don't Drink Whiskey Anymore" by Tim Hicks
And if you’re on the other side, where the woman is the one with a dram and drunk dialing, then results are different. The boy here decides to go back to her, even if the cause is “Maker’s Mark”. The song writer although recounts how he misses that she does not drink the amber colored liquor anymore. Guess, she finally gives up “jack and coke” and sticks to “tequila straight.” This 2014 country song may want you to try doing what the girl does, but not everyone nurses an emotional hangover for each other. So, let’s just sit back and enjoy, and not expect anything other than a good time with your whisky.
“Whiskey River” – Willie Nelson
Finally, a song that only asks for the pure and basic thing that whiskies provide—the solace to get over a broken heart. Johnny Bush says it straight, “Whiskey River, take my mind; Don’t let her memory torture me; Whiskey River, don’t run dry; You’re all I got, take care of me.” While most whisky-inspired songs highlight the dangers of drinking, this Willie Nelson classic understands that pouring into this sense-dropping liquid is the only way to cure a heartache instantly.