The Story Behind the Song (4 of 9): Naked Bourbon

Everyone lives for Friday in America.

Most of the time, the ideas for my songs come from free writes in my journal. It could be a recap of my day, descriptions of a feeling, or a memory. I free write until I eventually write what Hemingway called a “true sentence.” In his memoir, A Moveable Feast, he reflects on his periods of writers bloc and he would reassure himself with the idea that all a writer needs to start writing is a true sentence: a sentence that’s honest and original. “Naked Bourbon” started accidentally in a free write while I was trying to think of other ways to describe bourbon poured neat. That image stuck with me for a few weeks until I eventually wrote the first lines of the song “It’s been a long Monday/On East Main street/Of Pushing Paper/standing on seats.” A concept of escapism began to take shape and the rest of the song grew from there. 

The title and chorus of this song can be misleading out of context. I admit that a fresh pour of bourbon on the rocks or neat is a love affair worth having, but as the song took shape, “naked bourbon” became more of a symbol for escaping from your day to day.

We’ve all been there. You’re at work, perhaps sitting at your desk or in an idle truck, and suddenly it’s the absolute last place you want to be in that moment. You click from tab to tab, reread the same paragraph again and again, or mindlessly scroll through facebook or instagram, day dreaming about literally anything else. The more time that I’ve spent writing, playing, and listening to music, the more it’s on my mind throughout the rest of my day. And when I find myself asking questions about the nature of some of the more mundane aspects of my day job, I want to be elsewhere. 

 Deadcreek Flow, near Wanakena, NY at sunset. Sights like these are often the focus of my day dreams. 

Deadcreek Flow, near Wanakena, NY at sunset. Sights like these are often the focus of my day dreams. 

The heart of this song is a deep questioning about the ways we spend our time earning a living and the thought of other pursuits we would rather be doing.

Just before I wrote this song, I read Travels with Charley, Steinbeck’s famous controversial travelogue about his cross country road trip with his dog, Charley. Intent on reconnecting with his own country and seeking a cure for a period of depression, he chronicles his experiences and observations on his months long journey. For me, this book evoked my wanderlust and the hours I spent working under florescent lights after dark became stifling. Some of what I experienced in my day to day at the time did not exactly mesh with my own romantic imagination. 

Weekends and the summer are when I get to tend to my true sources for happiness, whether its traveling, playing or writing music, wandering around in the woods, spending time with family, or staying up late with a glass of bourbon and my favorite records. 

 

Lyrics:

It’s been Long Monday on East Main Street

Of Pushing Paper standing on seats

The sun that shines through these broken blinds

Shines right on my day-dreaming eyes

 

I used to want the world like Steinbeck in his wheeled shack

Now I never read books that ain’t stapled stacks

Oh how I’d kill right now to move past this disaster

And get to my naked bourbon a little faster

 

Pour it slow, pour it true 

Look me in the eye

You know the way I like to drink

Keep the lights low and the music on

Keep the lights low and the music on 

 

Everyone lives for Friday in America

We complain we’re tired the moment we wake up

So I don’t spend my time sippin’ any old flight

I wait for my naked bourbon on Friday nights

 

Pour it slow, pour it true 

Look me in the eye

You know the way I like to drink

Keep the lights low and the music on

Keep the lights low and the music on

 

Baby I love how you stare at me through the glass

The sparkle on the ice glows

Tomorrow we don’t have anywhere else to go 

So I’m gonna hold you till sunrise in front of this fire light

 

Pour it slow, pour it true 

Look me in the eye

You know the way I like to drink

Keep the lights low and the music on

Keep the lights low and the music on