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Welcome to my website. I hope you will enjoy the eclectic collection of short stories and essays. They are all very close to my heart, in whichever genre. I always welcome comments and feedback. Once again, I hope you enjoy my site. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

“Top 10 Country Songs … Songs about beer”

“Top 10 Country Songs … Songs about beer”

Country music and beer reach out to each other as do country music and boots.  Honkey-tonk barrooms featuring cowboy hats and boots along with good country music and beer are one of the reasons that country music is as popular as it is today. 

Drinking songs, featuring whiskey and beer, are a part of the soundtrack of many country music listeners lives.  Whether it is sad drinking songs, party-drinking songs, or country songs with a comedic flare, many of these songs feature beer as the center piece to the emotion laid down in the music.

Many country singers have made their mark on the country charts with drinking songs including Garth Brooks, with his barroom anthem, Friendsin Low Places, and Alan Jackson with his duet with Jimmy Buffett, Five o’clock somewhere.  These songs, in addition to scores of other country music hits, have helped to define country music as the working-man’s blues. 

In modern-day country music, a whole new generation of country singers has helped to bring the tradition of country music to a much wider audience featuring an entire slew of country music drinking songs.  Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, and Luke Bryan have done so brilliantly with chart toppers and huge hits.

Beer songs, however, are some of the most notable of country songs.  As primary examples of country drinking songs, these songs highlight listeners sitting at a bar, siting in their backyard, or at a party while listening to country music and drinking beer.

The songs that I have chosen for this “Top 10 … Country Songs” list reflect not only country hits, but also some of my favorites that may have fallen in below the radar.  These songs contain hits from recent decades, recent years, as well as current hits on today’s country music radio.

Hopefully you will enjoy some of your favorite songs and I hope you also discover new songs to add to your library.

Number 10:                      Tear in my beer by Hank Williams & Hank Williams Jr.
                                        Hank WilliamsOfficial Webpage
                                        There’sa tear in my beer Video

This song, electronically re-recorded with Hank Williams Jr. from the original recording by Hank Williams, is half-comedic and half-tragic.  Recollections of nights of sad drinking surface in the hearts many of its listeners when it is played.   It helps to establish a base between beer and country music.

Number 9:                        Beer Thirty by Brooks and Dunn
                                        Brooksand Dunn Official Webpage
                                        BeerThirty Video

Brooks and Dunn, at the forefront of country music for more than 20 years, have released many iconic country music songs before their recent break-up.  These songs include heart-wrenching ballads as well as songs fitting every niche that can be found in country music.  This song celebrates drinking beer while enjoying barroom life.  It is done so by with the trademark loud-vocal, up-beat edge for which the group is known.

Number 8:                  Beer Money by Kip Moore
                                  KipMoore Official Webpage
                                  BeerMoney Video

This recent hit by Kip Moore is a pure, party country song about nothing but beer and having a good time.   The backdrop set with the lyrics is a long night of partying with a long awaited date.  This song has helped this recently discovered country music singer to gain fame in his time on country music radio.

Number 7:                  Beer for my horses by Toby Keith & Willie Nelson
                                  TobyKeith Official Webpage
                                  WillieNelson Official Webpage
                                  Beer formy horses Video
This song, reminiscent of the Old West in America, pairs Toby Keith, a superstar in this generation, with Willie Nelson, a superstar for many generations.  Whiskeyfor my men, beer for my horses,” is the triumphant lyrics sang when the villain is caught.  The song serves as a party song, with a patriotic reverence of America of old.

Number 6:                  Beer Run by Garth Brooks & George Jones
                                  GarthBrooks Official Webpage
                                  GeorgeJones Official Webpage
                                  Beer runVideo

This song, once again, pairs two different superstars from two different eras.  Garth Brooks is the definitive country music superstar of all-time; crossing over on to the top of the all-genre charts while maintaining true to his country roots.  George Jones, a legend himself, especially among country music stars but also among country fans, sings with Garth Brooks in this song.  The song, featuring beer as the center piece to a larger party, is one that country fans can relate.

Number 5:                  Drink a beer by Luke Bryan
                                  LukeBryan Official Webpage
                                  Drink a beer Video

A mellower, heart-broken version of a “song about beer,” this song highlights a hard night of drinking in memory of an ended relationship.  Sitting at the bar and not thinking about much, helps a man to recover and start to regroup after such a break-up.  This song invites its listeners to share in this sentiment.

Number 4:                  Beer in Mexico by Kenny Chesney
                                  KennyChesney Official Webpage
                                  Beer inMexico Video

No gimmicks, no tragedy; this is simply a song about have a beer while enjoying a long vacation.  Upbeat, with catchy lyrics, it serves as both a mood setter at a bar and a back-beat at all other times.  Kenny Chesney has released many hit songs; this is another to add to his extensive collection.

Number 3:                  Beer and Bones by John Michael Montgomery
                                  JohnMichael Montgomery Official Webpage
                                  Beer andBones Video

This song, a big hit for the singer in the early 1990’s, is comedic yet tragic.  If you haven’t heard the song, take a listen.  I am sure that as a country music fan, you will enjoy this song.  The satirical, lyrical take-off on slang fits perfectly with anybody that can remember such a night of drunkenness.

Number 2:                  Good at drinking beer by Billy Currington
                                  Billy CurringtonOfficial Webpage
                                  Good at drinking beer Video

This song is about drinking beer, drinking beer, and more drinking beer.  A party favorite, this song is true to Billy Currington’s style which is iconic of country music in a very traditional style.  The mellow approach to country music that this song brings with it, refreshes it’s listeners with a breath of air quite unique on today’s country music radio. 

Number 1:                  I like girls that drink beer by Toby Keith
                                        Toby Keith Official Webpage

“I like girls that drink beer.”(Toby Keith)
“I like girls that drink beer.”(Me)

This song, reminiscent of my college days reminds me of one of the reasons I like women.  A simple, barroom jukebox song, this song is fun in a poignant way.  Girls that have fun, (i.e.) girls that drink beer, alongside with college drinking buddies, created a party that was unrivaled every weekend while I was in college.  I like pretty girls, I like smart girls, but most of all, I like girls that drink beer.

Toby Keith, since his first release, which went number one, I should have been a cowboy, has been a perennial favorite among country music fans.  In his career, which began that year in 1993, he has released 19 hits that reached number one.  He is as popular today as he has ever been.  His music, mostly with a hard-edged country feel, has created for him a large fan base which has helped him to sell more than forty million albums.

Toby Keith has received more than thirteen major awards for his music, including the ACM’s Entertainer of the Year in 2002 and 2003.  His most recent, most notable award came in 2012 for “Red, Solo Cup” as “Country Music Video of the Year” in 2012 from the Country Music Association.

Take a listen to this song and see how you like it.  Released in 2012, it only reached number 18 on the charts, yet it is very appealing among those who can relate to it.

I hope you have enjoyed this “Top 10 Country Songs … Songs about beer” list.  I hope you have discovered new songs of which you were unaware of, and others that are among your favorites.

You are most welcome to leave comments and to share this list with friends.  Keep an eye open for new “Top 10 Country Songs …” features in the future.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"A Meaningless Life"

  • Inspired by … “Desperado” by The Eagles

The barroom lights were low.  He came in here early after work, as he did every night.  The faces were familiar, yet daunting.

“What will it be tonight?” the barmaid asked him with a smile on her face.  She had seen him here very often lately. 

“I finished up college around here, a couple years ago,” he told her once.  “I’ve been trying to settle myself here since I graduated.”

She thought he was an especially good looking guy, but very quiet.

“I’ll start out with a Budweiser,” he politely asked the barmaid.

“It will be right up,” she told him.  She reached under the counter and handed him a bottle of beer.

“Do you want me to put it on your tab like I always do?” she asked him automatically. 

He came here often and he didn’t say much, but he was always a good tipper and she always appreciated that.

As she handed him his bottle of beer, he put a dollar on the table as a tip.

The music was playing in the background.  It was a song he knew and sometimes enjoyed, but as he typically would, after he ordered his first beer he went to the jukebox and put five dollars in to play an assortment of his favorite music.

He listened intently to the music as he vaguely paid attention to the conversation the guy on the next stool started.

The conversation was dull and routine as it always was at the bar.  He didn’t come to meet any women, or to meet up with any friends, he came to the bar simply so he wouldn’t have to spend the evening alone. 

The music continued to play in the background.

As he sat at the bar, he would often contemplate his life.  He was still very young, shortly out of college, but it seemed that he had missed out on a lot in his life.  Not that he could think of what to call it, but he had a vague impression that his life lacked passion.   Even in college, he showed up to class and did his homework, but he never put any actual effort into it.  His social life seemed to be lacking and he was unable to make close friends or have any sort of special relationship with a woman.  The monotony consumed him.

The music continued to play in the background.

“What do you think?  Will Seattle win The Superbowl again next year?” one of the patrons asked the group of friends. 

It was not football season yet, but much of the barroom conversation existed of talking about football and talking about women.

Justin, eager to discuss football because it was one of the topics he actually knew something about, rebutted.  He said, “I think the team that has the best shot of going all the way this year is Green Bay.  If Aaron Rodgers stays healthy and the running game continues from where it left off last year, I think they can beat any team in the league.”

It was mundane conversation, yet it seemed to break the nothingness in his life. 

Every weekend, more often than not, he would come to this same bar; he didn’t have any friends, but it was better than time spent alone.

The barmaid listened intently to the three men discussing football.  Not a football fan, Rebecca, enjoyed the conversation that served as mild amusement while she worked.

“Could I have another beer?” Justin asked the barmaid.

“You just ordered that first beer five minutes ago,” she told him as she handed him another Budweiser.  “If you keep it up, you aren’t going to find your way home tonight.”  The modest flirtation lifted Justin’s mood for a brief moment.

He, once again, put another dollar on the counter as a tip for the beer.

The music continued in the background.

The conversation in the barroom continued as the three patrons’ inebriation grew.  They discussed football and baseball.

“I would like to see The Dodgers do something this year, but I just don’t think it is going to come together.”

“I am interested in what The Cowboys will do in the offseason,” another of the patrons said.  “There offense was excellent last year and I think it is only going to get better.  I’m interested to see if they make some key moves on their defensive team.”

The barmaid cut into the conversation, “Any of you want another beer?” she asked the three men.

All of them vigorously nodded and she laid a beer down for each of them.  Justin put another dollar on the table and thanked the barmaid.

The music continued in the background. 

Justin thought of the chances of something meaningful that could happen in his life.  He thought of the void in which his life was now engulfed.

One of Justin’s fellow patrons, absorbed with his own typical drunkenness said to him, “What’s wrong buddy, something wrong with that beer?  Let me buy you another one.”

Justin gave a painful grimace which was all that was needed to disguise the solitude of his soul.

“One more beer for my friend,” he asked the barmaid. 

Justin looked into the mirror and kept drinking his beer as his two compatriots continued their own conversation.

His morbidity was well hidden, all of Justin’s compatriots thought Justin was having a good time.  Oblivious, the people who Justin considered to be strangers all considered Justin to be a friend.

The hours passed and the three friends got drunker and drunker.  The music continued to play in the background and Justin listened more intently to the music than his two friends.    His stone-cold drunkenness covered the blur in his mind.  Shortly after 1:00 in the morning, it was time for Justin to go home now. 

“Could you call me a cab? He politely slurred to the barmaid.

She grabbed the phone under the counter and dialed up a cab.

“It will be here in about fifteen minutes,” she said to him.  “Are you o.k.?” she asked slightly concerned with his level of drunkenness that was a little bit more than typical today.  “Do you want another beer while you are waiting for your cab?”

In a drunken stupor he thanked her.  He paid his tab leaving an extra five dollars for a tip.

As he walked out the door he the patrons wished him a good night and said, “See you tomorrow night, buddy.” 

The barmaid, not inflicted by the same drunkenness, looked upon Justin as he left.  She, although not
interested in the man, felt some level of empathy in a quiet understanding of the real reasons he was drinking.  She brushed it off along with a tear which almost welled up in her eye.

During the ride home in the cab, Justin, too drunk to sit up, nearly passed out in the back of the cab.

He arrived home, paying the cab driver his fair and a tip.  He went into his one room apartment and fell asleep immediately. 

Another day would end as it did before.  Another morning would start in a similar fashion.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"A Blessed Day"

  • ·         inspired by … “Lord have mercy on the working man” by Travis Tritt

“5:30 in the morning; time to get out of bed.”

Miserably tired, Steven must face another day.  It was Thursday, with only two work days left until he could enjoy the weekend and get some sleep.

Working with the union at the automobile factory, the work was hard, but the pay was good.

First thing that he did after he awoke was to walk into the kitchen and make a pot of coffee.

Savoring every sip, he looked out into the yard and noticed the sun coming up through the leaves on the trees.

“No breakfast this morning, there wouldn’t be time.”

He finished his second cup of coffee to go upstairs and shower before work. 

His wife and children were still sleeping.  His wife, Penelope, would be awake very soon to make the kids breakfast before they went to school.

Penelope was sleeping and Steven felt the familiar warmth of love in his heart as he looked upon her. 

He went into the bathroom and shaved and brushed his teeth before showering. 

It was still very early.  He had to be to work no later than 8:00 o’clock and traffic was always bad.

Steven finished shaving.  In the mirror, he noticed the dark circles under his eyes.  Brushing his teeth, he contemplated the new day.

The monotonous nature of his work created a mundane routine in his life.  He had co-workers and some friends at the factory, but every day at work he kept an eye on the clock waiting for the bell to ring and for it to reach the time to clock out and go home. 

He was good at his job and had received a number of promotions over the years which now placed him as a stationary foreman in his sector.  He was in charge of over twenty men and enjoyed the latitude his placement allowed.

As he drove to work this morning, traffic was heavy on the freeway.  He stopped at a donut shop on the way, as he often did, to grab a glazed donut and a cup of coffee.  The familiar faces were welcoming.

He picked out his donut and asked for a large coffee as the clerk wished him a good morning and sent him on his way.

As he continued his journey to work, he listened to the news station on the radio.  The newsman discussed the situation in TheUkraine in a daunting manner.  It seemed that many were worried about the ramifications that might result from the crisis. 

As for Steven, he didn’t let it bother him much.   He figured that the situation would take care of itself and that everything would turn out right.

Baseball season was going to start soon.  “I’m betting on the Yankees,” he thought to himself.

Steven changed the station.  In another fifteen or twenty minutes he would arrive at work.  Right now he felt like listening to some music on the radio.

One of his favorite songs started playing on the radio.

“How come you never call me sugar, baby?  How come you never call me sweetie, honey?”

He almost began singing along to the catchy lyrics, but chose not to because of his insecurities about his own singing abilities.

Yet, the song playing on the radio immediately lightened his spirits and made the impending day seem less intimidating. 

Arriving to work, he had a parking space reserved.  It seemed like a minor convenience, but it made his trivial day more accommodating.  On salary, he still needed to clock in every morning.  They said it was a matter of bookkeeping or something.  But, it was no matter to him.  He got paid the same regardless of showing up ten minutes early or fifteen minutes late.

“Good morning, Steven,” one of the workers greeted.

“Good morning, Bob,” Steven retorted.

As the crew arrived each of them would meet in the lobby to enjoy one more cup of coffee before they got ready for the new work day to begin.  Welcoming each other with smiles, it brought camaraderie to the floor of the factory. 

Most of the employees arrived around 8:00 in the morning, but their work didn’t begin until about 9:00.  They were all very familiar with their jobs and were quite good at it. 

They all shared similar routines, in which Steven was the boss.  If there was some sort of problem with the equipment, Steven was in charge of getting it fixed.  If it were time for a break or anything else of that nature, it was Steven’s call. 

The only change to the routine was when there was a new worker and Steven was in charge of training the new employee to do their job.

The repetitive nature of the work allowed a break for lunch in which they all would gather in the cafeteria to share a meal with one another.   The food was surprisingly good for an automobile factory’s cafeteria and it kept the workers in good morale.

The day would continue after lunch.  Between 1:00 and until 5:00 they would continue with their work.  The work day would slow down after lunch, with many of the workers letting their lethargy get the better of them.

The hours past and it was time to conclude the work day.  Steven, as foreman, alerted the crew around 4:30 that it was near time to clock out and go home.  The workers, skilled in their routine, would shut down the equipment and return excess supplies to the storage area.

Today, like every other day, 5:00 finally arrived.  The work bell rang as the workers were finishing their work. 

It was time for Steven to go home to his wife and children to spend precious time with them which was all-too rare.

Driving up that Thursday evening, traffic was bad as it always was.  He listened to the news on the radio.  It looked like they had finally tracked that missing plane.  However, it didn’t seem like much of a success since there probably would be no survivors.  For some reason, the newscaster seemed more optimistic about it then Steven did.

Baseball season was starting soon.  “Boston could give the Yankees a run for it this year,” he thought to himself.

He changed the station on the radio to listen to some more music. 

George Jones, George Strait, and Jason Alean; Jukebox heroes, that’s all that they are.  But, when they play those sad-drinking songs, my heart can’t help but sing along.”

“When Alan Jackson sings, ‘Midnight in Montgomery’ and Tim McGraw sings ‘The Ride’, the songs of Hank Williams take hold of my memory.”

He continued his drive home.  Penelope would surely by ready to serve dinner when he arrived home.

After a hard day’s work, he could not help but have a smile on his face.  The work was physical and monotonous, but it allowed him to share the grace of living with his wife and a happy family.

As he parked in his driveway, a brighter smile appeared on his face.  He opened the door, only to be greeted by his wife.  Once again he realized how much he loved her and how much he always would.

His family sat down to share dinner.  It was him, his wife, and his two daughters.  They shared an expertly crafted dinner prepared with care by his wife.  It was fettuccini alfredo with lemon-herb chicken and garlic bread.

As they sat down together to enjoy their dinner, he realized how much happiness the monotonous routine of family life meant to him.  He had a good job, he had a beautiful wife that loved him and that he loved, and he had two children who he adored.

He blessed the day only to wait for another.