There are many things that do not go well with country music— like Ferraris, and video games. But know what does pair well with country, with either a side of easy joy or unbearable sadness? Beer! It’s cheap, made for sippin’ and thus extending the time of your bar-stool sittin’. Or, you and your partner can hold a bottle each and two-step without missing a beat. Beer! Country! Song!
Co-written with Randy Montana and Jonathan Singleton, the song is pretty straight-forward in describing the protogonist’s lists of disappointments in relationships and love, concluding with the veritable fact that beer doesn’t break hearts. Like most inanimate objects. Notice I said “most”. Some reviewers observed however that the song isn’t at the end of the day about a loser who drowns his sorrows in beer, but that things in life happen, and you have to pick yourself up and move on, and making a positive spin on the hardships of life.
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “Longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart/Like diamond rings and football teams have torn this boy apart/Like a neon dream it just don't know me, the bars and this guitar/And longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart…”
Charted: #1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart, 2019
Legend has it…: From SongFacts: Combs had the title on his phone for a long time. He penned the song with Singleton and Montana on the tour bus during his 2018 Don't Tempt Me with a Good Time Tour. The singer explained in press materials that he "really wanted to save it for some guys I thought would kind of understand and grasp what I was looking for out of the song." Combs added that he went to soundcheck and when he returned Singleton and Montana had been "hammering away" on his idea. They completed the song that day. The song quickly became a fan favorite after Combs began performing it acoustically at concerts in January 2018. A studio version of the track was finally released to radio on May 8, 2019.
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: Beer never breaks hearts, and dogs are our best friend. Imagine if a dog was trained to bring you a beer. Or, you can equally imagine your dog running away with your beer.
Co-written with Troy Verges and Blair Daly, this song is catchy with an uplifting tone, which ironically masks its slight note of despondency over the economic malaise affecting the American Mid-West. The song itself is an ode to the blue-collar worker, looking to blow off some steam from their low-paying, low-future job in one of the few accessible means to them—through beer and partying on the weekend. As Kip Moore describes, growing up in the small town of Tifton, Georgia, there was little for the locals to do apart from having a few cold beers on the weekend. The song was inspired by a friend of his whose father lost his job of 31 years. Says Moore, “I was talking to a buddy of mine’s dad who lost his job of 31 years, and how somebody his age, working at the same place for 31 years that has to be pretty much his only identity, that’s what he does. And how scared he must be for losing that job, which led into how tough times are right now,” says Moore. “But regardless of how tough times are, ticket sales are still up, people are still going to movies and bars are still filled with people having a good time. No matter how rough times get, people are still gonna need that outlet to go and do something.”
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “So come on, come on/Baby, I'm buying/I got enough to last us all night and/You got the kiss that tastes like honey/And I got a little beer money”…
Charted: #3 on the Billboard Country Airplay Charts, 2012
What Reviewers say…: Many reviewers noted how Kip Moore with “Beer Money” veered tonality-wise pretty close to Mellencamp and Springsteen territory in writing songs reflecting the American hardscrabble worker spirit and life, but never quite crossed the border, preferring to keep the illusion of geniality and positivity front and center in the song. On the other hand, it’s clear that it was a conscious choice by Kip and Co. to use the sledgehammer less-traveled approach, to both highlight hardship in a very subtle way and not treat their audience like idiots, while still providing a great song to dance to. Smart and empathic: maybe this song is Springsteen-y after all.
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: “Beer money” can be interpreted in two ways: money for beer, or beer for money…
From Ontario, brother and sister Stuart and Jenna Walker create this fun tongue-in-cheek tune that everyone should send to their ex. This talented duo has the knack for entertainment in their blood. From The Music Express, Jenna says, “Our entire family has a thing for entertaining…We grew up on an adventure farm that had pig races, a haunted house, haunted hay rides and a corn maze. Thousands of people would come to the farm and that’s how we got started, by dressing up as hillbillies and performing at the pig races. We never really stopped after that as Stuart and I both took vocal and guitar lessons and then decided we were going to be a thing about six years ago.”
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “'Cause this buzz I've been chasin'/It's better than my love that you wasted/And if you ever think I wish you were here/No, I wish you were beer…”
Charted: #19 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart
Legend has it…: Stuart Walker in an interview with The Music Express: “We wrote “Wish You Were Beer” with Dakota Jay and Will King…We flew these guys up to write with us at a cottage for two weeks. On the last day of the trip they thought we would just take the day off to drink and relax. I said we needed one more song so we went out on a boat because we had to get out of the cottage and switch the atmosphere a bit. Will had to pee the whole time but he can’t swim so that was good motivation to do something quickly and we got the song done in 20 minutes.”
“I Should Have Known That” Moment #1: What’s a “Reklaw”? It is…“Walker” spelled backwards. From The Music Express, when Jenna and Stuart Walker were trying to come up with a name for the group, their mother suggested they simply spell their family name backwards. Jenna and Stuart loved the idea because ‘the name sounds like reckless and outlaws, which is very cool’.
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: Of all the things to wish for, to be honest beer would be pretty far down the list…Not too far, but far enough.
The story behind the song is interesting with this one, moreso because at first blush, it appears to be a song about a psycho who feeds beer to his horse. But Alas, nay! It’s much more than that. In an interview with The Outsider, the song started out as a phrase Keith had heard while working at rodeos in his youth. Keith narrates, “The cowboys there would walk around with flasks of whiskey in their back pockets… They’d make toasts before swigging down the liquor. One of those toasts was “whiskey for my men, beer for my horses.”
Keith said he stored that phrase away in his mind for a rainy song-writing day. Then, when lightning struck, the phrase inspired a cinematic moment in Keith’s imagination. Keith describes, “The big posse goes out and catches the bad guys and everybody comes back to lick their wounds, remember the ones they lost and celebrate with the ones that made it back. You raise your glass and say, ‘Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses, bartender.’”
Keith then reached out to his friend and fellow country singer Scott Emerick with the title. Emerick created the melody and Keith started working out the lyrics. That original concept stuck. “The song was written prior to September 11th,” Keith reportedly said. “It’s about justice, but more so about the law of the Old West. It truly depicts how I feel about our justice system today.”
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “ 'Cause justice is the one thing you should always find/You got to saddle up your boys, you got to draw a hard line/When the gun smoke settles we'll sing a victory tune/We'll all meet back at the local saloon/And we'll raise up our glasses against evil forces singing/Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses…”
Charted: #1 for six weeks on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs, 2003
Legend has it…: "Beer for My Horses" made Willie Nelson, at 70 years of age, the oldest artist to top the country charts.
Huh? #1 Moment…: The music video, shot in downtown Los Angeles and at the nearby Golden Oak Ranch, in Newhall, California, features Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, and Corin Nemec (of “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” fame. Anyone? Anyone?), as detectives hunting a serial killer. The detectives convince Nemec to dress up as a woman to lure the serial killer, and they end up capturing him.
Huh?? #2 Moment…: On March 4, 2004, the video for “Beer For My Horses” was nominated for Video of the Year for the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Huh??? #3 Moment…: The 2008 film Beer For My Horses was based on the song, which was featured in the film. The film starred Keith and Nelson, among others (and apparently is deemed as one of the “worst country music singer movies of all time” according to a completely legitimate no-name online movie review site).
Huh???? #4 Moment…: Sorry, did you catch that Wille Nelson sang with Toby Keith on this song? Willie Nelson also made Scotty Emerick, writer of “Beer For My Horses”, swear off pot. From an interview with SongFacts, as Emerick tells it, it was the first time Toby and Willie had done a duet together: "We got on his bus and played him 'Beer For My Horses.' That's the first time we ever met him. And we told him we had an idea, we had a song we wanted to do a duet with him. So we just met him on his bus and hung out all night, and played him songs. And he's so nice, he said, 'Sure.' Then it just all fell into place. They recorded it, and it's great. I wrote ‘I’ll Never Smoke Weed Again' after that first experience, too." What.
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: Who needs apples to feed horses, when beer will do just fine?
Apparently it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become an expert at a particular skill. Add that to the theory that chicks love men who are very good at one thing—it can be anything, as long as the man is a master at it. Apparently according to Currington, this formula means that if a guy spends a lot of time at drinking…chicks will find that talent appealing. Apparently, it’s a fine line between alcoholism and talent. But Currington, in this light-hearted, easy-listening country song, straddles it…apparently? This is one of those “you be the judge!” moments.
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “I wasn't born for diggin' deep holes/I'm not made for pavin' long roads/I ain't cut out to climb high line poles/But I'm pretty good at drinkin' beer…”
Charted: #1 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country chart, 2010
Legend has it: Writer of “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer” Troy Jones in an interview with The Boot in 2010: “I was riding down the road a few years back and got this tune going in my head. For some reason, I got to thinking that I didn't go to college -- all I have is a high-school education. I don't have a trade; I'm not a welder, and I'm not a mechanic. I was thinking, "Well, the only thing I can do is pick a guitar and write songs!" So when I got home, I picked up my guitar, and those first few lines just started coming out -- that I wasn't born for digging deep holes or paving roads, and all that stuff. And it just kind of rolled out from there…”
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: Wise man say, “Pretty good at drinking beer, pretty good at falling over and sleeping on street in the middle of nowhere.”
When you dig into the history of “There’s A Tear In My Beer”, there’s a bunch of coincidences that, upon consideration, are purty darn odd in the evolution of a song that has become a de facto earworm for the last few generations. First, consider that it wasn’t even released at the time it was written in the early 50’s. Yes, you heard correctly: Hank Williams Sr. both sang and recorded this song back in 1951—but he never released it. It wasn’t until Hank Williams Jr. re-recorded “There’s A Tear In My Beer” that the song got widespread release.
Second, consider that the words “tear” and “beer” were never put together in other common songs up until that time, despite the fact they so easily rhyme together and would be blood-manna to the vampire-songwriter set. Yet Hank Williams was the first to the finish line with that, in hindsight, ridiculously low-hanging-fruit word-salad combo.
Finally, consider the context of the late 80’s and early 90’s fascination with bringing dead singers to life and singing duets with them, the requirement of the technological advancement of music recording and video editing technology to make this duet even possible—and that the duet was done by Hank Williams son...of the same name. Now, it’s basically ho-hum to greenscreen on TikTok with a you-pick-em suite of options for duetting with dead musicians. However back then, seeing a dead person come back to life duetting with a real-life person would be akin to a caveman seeing the flame flick from a Bic lighter (movie reference: “Encino Man). The result: technology!, the rejuvenation of two singers (who are again, related and have the same name), AND a song that stands the test of the remix—uh, time.
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “There’s a tear in my beer/cuz I’m crying for you dear…”
Charted: It’s a classic that will always chart because it will last until the end of time.
Legend has it…: The music video for “There’s a Tear In My Beer” premiered in early 1989. In the video, Hank Williams Jr. performs the song by himself on a stormy night in a rickety old house. Soon, he hears faint singing from behind a door near him: standing there, a silhouette. After harmonizing for a couple of bars with the mystery singer (because what else is one to do when one sees a singing silhouette—not reach for a gun or a baseball bat, but harmonize like a Disney moment), he opens the door to discover his father, Hank Williams Sr., playing the song with his band in footage of an old performance. Hank Jr. then walks through the door and magically appears by his father's side to finish the song together.
The footage of Hank Sr. was a digitally modified kinescope of a 1952 performance of “Hey Good Lookin’" on the Kate Smith Evening Hour. The editing team made several hundred-minute tweaks to lay a new mouth (that of an actor dressed like Hank, Sr.) over the mouth of the original Hank; this was a ground-breaking technology at the time. The New York Times even did a feature on the video and its cutting-edge visual effects, which was released around the time Forrest Gump used similar effects.
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: Are you crying into your beer? Or is your beer crying into you…?
Written by Jim Beaver and Chris Stapleton about death of loved ones, Luke Bryan with his poignant interpretation and vocal delivery in “Drink A Beer” pays tribute to the untimely passing of his siblings.
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “So long my friend, until we meet again/I'll remember you/And all the times that we used to/Sit right here on the edge of this pier/And watch the sunset disappear/And drink a beer…”
Charted: #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, 2013
Word has it: Bryan performed "Drink a Beer" at the CMA Awards on November 6, 2013. The performance was dedicated to his late siblings Chris and Kelly. Lady Antebellum performed an emotional rendition of the song alongside co-writer Chris Stapleton as a tribute at the 2014 CMT Artists of the Year ceremony, after Bryan was forced to cancel his scheduled performance following the passing of his brother-in-law, Lee. The performance was considered one of the best moments of the show
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: Honoring the deceased with alcohol is a millennia-honored tradition with humans, and it will likely continue to do so in the future.
This song is as close to country philosophizin’ as country philosophizin’ gets: a guy who is suffering some mid-life ennui, is at the crossroads, doesn’t know the next choice, so he hangs back and has a…beer in Mexico. At the same time, when you think about it: if you’re having a beer in Mexico, you may have already made one hard choice—playing with the delicate balance of your gut bacteria.
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “Starin' out into the wild blue yonder/So many thoughts to sit and ponder
'Bout life and love and lack of/And this emptiness in my heart…”
Charted: #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart
Legend has it…: Chesney wrote the song while vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for Sammy Hagar’s birthday party.
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: Does the same “beer” (ahem metaphor for the search for some meaning in life) taste different in another country…?
A cowboy sees a damsel in distress—distress in this case the damsel being ignored by her flirtin’ no-good boyfriend—and deigns to interrupt this blatant display of neglect by getting the wayward dude to “hold his beer” while he chats that fool’s woman up.
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “I've been watchin' you watchin' every girl in the bar/And payin' no attention to the one on your arm…”
Charted: #9 on the Billboard Canada Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart
Legend has it…: As British Columbia native Aaron Pritchett in an interview with CTV describes, “The way the whole story happens…it was kind of by chance. I wasn't even going to say the phrase [Hold My Beer] when I was in the song writing session and I blurted it out and we all thought it was just a joke…We'll never record this song. [But]…we recorded it and it became this huge popular song that, 13 years later, is my legacy.”
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: A true friend is someone who will hold your beer for you, and not drink it.
Brooks & Dunn, an early 90’s manufactured duo country act made up of two failing solo male performers, proved true the adage “more than the sum of its parts”: that is, one was peanut butter, and one was jelly, put ‘em together and you got peanut butter-and jelly-sandwich deliciousness. Capitalizing on the early-90’s country pop recipe for rejuvenation of catchy sing-along hits, marketing wizardry and big-concert glitz and clamour to entertain the masses, Brooks & Dunn went on an almost two-decade journey of success before bowing out, just in time when hip-hop started to cross-pollinate into country. “Beer Thirty” fits completely in the wheelhouse of a song for the blue-collar workers looking for respite after a hard day.
Song “in a nutshell” lyric: “It's beer thirty a honky-tonk time…”
Charted: #19 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart
Scientizin’ sound-bite…: What time is “Beer Thirty” anyway? One study (who funds these studies?) show it is typically 6:30pm Friday.
Bottom-of-the-beer glass philosophy quote: You can put an “o’clock” time to anything.