Bourbon ManhattanOk, so the Bourbon Shootout is approaching (I’m so stoked), which leads to two great questions: what bourbon to serve and what music to listen to? I already have enough bourbon, so let’s talk tracks.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I think bourbon drinkin’ music, I think things like Johnny Cash and maybe some Tom Waits (I can only do so much Waits). I’m sure there’s a perfect Dylan song for this, but my knowledge is fleeting and I haven’t thought of it, yet. What I have so far:

  • Johnny Cash – I’ll throw a whole mess in, probably including things like Cocaine Blues, his cover of God’s Gonna Cut You Down and who knows what else.
  • Tom Waits – it’s hard to resist adding Jockey Full of Bourbon and The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)
  • Richard Buckner – A Goodbye Rye – yeah, I know, I know. But I’m not having a rye tasting anytime soon so I’m throwing in other American whiskeys.
  • Jesse Colin Young – Rye Whiskey
  • Ugly Cassanova – Parasites
  • Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’ – I See a Darkness
  • Nancy Sinatra – Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
  • Charlie Feathers – That Certain Female – Ok, I’m seriously wandering here but what the hell. Fun songs and who doesn’t drink bourbon while watching Kill Bill?
  • Gypsy Kings – Hotel California (in spanish)
  • Dock Boggs – I’m not sure which song yet, but God help our drunken brains if it comes on late in the evening.
  • Lucinda Williams – Jug Band Music? I only have the Ramblin’ album, so something off that.
  • Harry McClintock – Big Rock Candy Mountain – and heck, if we’re doing O Brother, Where Art Thou maybe Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby. I’m not sure how that applies here, but I like the feel of it.
  • Tanya Tucker – Delta Dawn – For those who feel like hollerin’ along.
  • R.E.M. – Swan Swan H – sure it’s obvious, but I like it so it’s in.

So it’s a start, but I’ll still need to keep poking around. Probably some AC/DC is required, but what else? I know there’s lots of low hanging fruit (Whiskey River, etc.) but I’m not sure I’m headed that way, yet. I rarely do a mix without an OtR song, so perhaps Trouble. Some old White Stripes, Iron & Wine and other standbys will probably show up, but any other inspired ideas?


  1. George Jones, hello? I would also bust out some old Willie Nelson. I like Uncle Tupelo for drinking as well — they do a nice “Moonshiner,” which Bob Dylan recorded as well, if you are anxious for Dylan. I like Nanci Griffith’s song “Canadian Whiskey” very much. I will keep thinking about this!

  2. This guy might be able to help you:

  3. Blood on the Saddle is awesome, there’s some great stuff on those sets, good link! What’s a good George Jones alternative to If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me? I can’t believe there’s a Nanci Griffith song that Christy doesn’t own but this appears to be the case. I’ll have to track it down! I’m up for Willie Nelson, the best part is I only have one album of his which came free with a bottle of bourbon. So, really, something needs to go on the mix from that.

  4. Alternative George drinking songs include “Tennessee Whiskey” (if you are willing to be open-minded about the state border) and “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In),” which I think is a duet with Garth Brooks or somebody. The Nanci song is on “Other Voices Too: A Trip Back to Bountiful,” which I think I promised to copy for you guys and then my CD burner broke and has remained broken… sorry about that.

  5. Ardenstone

    Sweet, I’ll take a look at these! Canadian Whiskey I snagged from Amazon after your post, and it’s perfect as are tons of other suggestions. In an attempt to make the longest comment ever, here’s the list so far (in totally random order):

    • R.E.M. – Swan Swan H
    • Dock Boggs – Country Blues
    • Nanci Griffith – Canadian Whiskey (LP Version)
    • Over the Rhine – Orphan Girl
    • Tim Easton – Dear Old Song & Dance
    • Tom Waits – The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)
    • Johnny Cash – Solitary Man
    • Richard Buckner – A Goodbye Rye
    • Neko Case – John Saw That Number
    • Nancy Sinatra – Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
    • Uncle Tupelo – Moonshiner
    • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand
    • The White Stripes – Your Southern Can Is Mine (Blind Willie McTell)
    • The Unicorns – Ghost Mountain
    • Charlie Feathers – That Certain Female
    • Lucinda Williams – Jug Band Music
    • Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down
    • Caitlin Cary – Please Take The Devil Out Of Me
    • Hayseed Dixie – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (live)
    • Sons Of The Pioneers – Cool Water
    • Nanci Griffith – This Old Town
    • Devendra Banhart – The Body Breaks
    • Sally Timms – Snowbird
    • Johnny Cash – I See A Darkness
    • Johnny Cash – I Hung My Head
    • Gypsy Kings – Hotel California (in spanish)
    • Beth Orton – Stolen Car
    • Iron & Wine – Jezebel
    • Tennessee Ernie Ford – The Shot-Gun Boogie
    • Harry McClintock – Big Rock Candy Mountain
    • Roger Miller – Dad Blame Anything A Man Can’t Quit
    • Stealers Wheel – Stuck In The Middle With You
    • Ugly Cassanova – Parasites
    • Ugly Cassanova – Diamonds In The Face Of Evil
    • Red Sovine – Outlaw
    • Ray Wylie Hubbard – Conversation with the Devil
    • Tanya Tucker – Delta Dawn
    • Willie Nelson – If You Got The Money Honey I Got The Time
    • Wanda Jackson – Man We Had A Party
    • Johnny Cash – Cocaine Blues
    • Jolie Holland – Old Fashioned Morphine
    • Dock Boggs – Old Rub Alcohol Blues
    • Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Gillian Welch – Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby
    • Mirah – jerusalem
    • Chris Isaak – Dark Moon
    • Tindersticks – Whiskey & Water
    • Over the Rhine – Trouble
    • Tom Waits – Jockey Full Of Bourbon
    • Jesse Colin Young – Rye Whiskey
  6. Nice list! I love “Cool Water”! (And you love “I Hung My Head.”) Forgot to suggest Loretta Lynn: “Wine, Women and Song” and “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ With Lovin’ On Your Mind.”

  7. I was just listening to Fairport Convention today and thinking you might like them. “Genesis Hall” mentions whiskey & wine.