“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite, and furthermore, always carry a small snake.” —W.C. Fields
Sometimes all you need is a little bit of whiskey—whether to get the creative juices flowing, take the edge off awkward family get-togethers or just to get through the day. Even W.C. Fields agreed. Whiskey mixes well with a lot of things, including music. Here are six songs about whiskey that go down just as smoothly.
“Well Whiskey” – Bright Eyes
Culled from Bright Eyes’ album I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (2005), was a four-song single in support of the song “Lua,” featuring “Well Whiskey.” Comparable in theme to “Lua,” “Well Whiskey” is the story of a couple sauntering through a night together. “I get my whiskey from a well, except on holidays then it’s on the top shelf/But tonight I don’t mind if I spend a little more because you are a tolerant woman and the world is at war,” sings Conor Oberst.
“Rye Whiskey” – Punch Brothers
The Punch Brothers tell a cautionary tale in “Rye Whiskey.” Even though whiskey can seemingly enhance the world around you, the Punch Brothers warn it can affect one’s productivity, lower one’s inhibitions and cause sleep problems. “Rye whiskey makes your heart beat louder/Makes your voice seem softer/Make the back room hotter, oh, but/Rye thoughts aren’t good thoughts, boy/Have I ever told you about the time I …” they sing.
“Whiskey in the Jar” – Metallica
Although the American heavy-metal band Metallica seems like an unlikely group to cover the famous Irish song “Whiskey in the Jar,” the paradoxical music video makes it worthwhile. Instead of the stereotypical Irish group singing the song, listeners get to watch scenes from a house party full of plastered women. All the while, Metallica is one room over mixing metal with Irish tradition. “She swore that she loved me no never would she leave me/But the devil take that woman, yeah, for you know she tricked me easy,” growls lead vocalist James Hetfield, followed by the chorus, “Musha rain dum-a-doo dum-a-da/Whack for my daddy-o/Whack for my daddy-o/There’s whiskey in the jar-o.”
“Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” – The Doors
Originally written by Bertolt Brecht in 1927, The Doors borrowed “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” and tweaked some of the lyrics for their debut album The Doors (1967). It only makes sense that frontman Jim Morrison, who was well-known for his alcohol and drug dependency, would cover a song about whiskey. “Show me the way/To the next whisky bar/Oh, don’t ask why,” Morrison sings, “For if we don’t find/The next whisky bar/I tell you we must die.” Listeners can practically smell the whiskey on Morrison’s breath throughout the song.
“Sue Jack Daniels” – Reverend Horton Heat
Blame the liquor, says Reverend Horton Heat in “Sue Jack Daniels.” The country/punk/rockabilly frontman Jim Heath (aka Reverend Horton Heat) sings, “He pushed me into a thorny ol’ bush/Only about a hundred needles down my tush/Having so much fun with my buddies at the bar/But it wasn’t very funny when he made me wreck my car/I’m gonna sue Jack Daniels for/Hitting me with a trunk of a big ol’ live oak tree.” That horrible dehydrated, hungover feeling and all the embarrassing moments from the night before: it’s the whiskey’s fault—not yours.
“Whiskey & Green Tea” – Supergrass
“Whiskey & Green Tea” tells the story of a karaoke night (possibly in China or somewhere else in Asia) gone terribly wrong. An overindulgence in whiskey and green tea, Supergrass explains, can cause one to see “walking, talking dogs” and be chased by William Burroughs and Chinese dragons. “Whiskey and green tea/Nearly killed me/At the KTV.” It must be the antioxidant powers of green tea combined with whiskey that cause the hallucinations.