February 17, 2020

Drinkin’ Songs 3: Drink Till We’re Gone by Lucero

This week’s Drinkin’ Song is Drink Till We’re Gone by Lucero. This Memphis-based band is one of my personal favorite groups!  Equal parts alt-county, rock and roll, punk and whiskey, this band puts on a great live show if you ever get to see them (I’ve lost count of the number of Lucero shows I’ve seen!). In my humble opinion, Lucero has recorded some of the best drinkin’ songs out there.  This crowd favorite appeared on their self-titled album, Lucero in 2005 and again on their 2014 live album, Lucero Live From Atlanta:

To hear the original album version of the song: .

Here are the lyrics:

Life is short
In spite of your plans
So, tell the girls they’re pretty while you can
One day they’re gone
And all you got left is
Some empty bottles and an old country song
That plays on and on

I wasted my time with these cigarettes
And these ashes all I’ve got left
Wash this old town
Nothings left for me
Washed down stream into the sea
This big ol’ river will kill us in time
’til then we’ll drink it’s weight
In cheap beer and wine
We can drink just as fast as the river is strong
And we’ll drink ’til we’re gone
We’ll drink ’til we’re gone

Life is short
In spite of your plans
So, tell the girls they’re pretty while you can
One day they’re gone
And all you got left is 
Some empty bottles and an old country song
This big ol’ river will kill us in time
’til then we’ll drink it’s weight
In cheap beer and wine
We can drink just as fast as the river is strong
And we’ll drink ’til we’re gone
We’ll drink ’til we’re gone


Live version:

February 1, 2020

Drinkin’ Songs 2: Moonshiner by Bob Dylan

Recorded by Bob Dylan in 1963, Moonshiner has been recorded by numerous other artists over the years and there is some dispute over whether the song is an American or Irish folk song of unknown authorship.  Indeed, you can find versions of the song performed by the likes of folk legends The Clancy Brothers and others. Interestingly, the lyrics of Moonshiner can vary widely depending on the version and the artist.  The meaning of the song is pretty self-evident and requires little interpretation.  My favorite lyrics are the Dylan version and my favorite performance of the song  is the Uncle Tupelo version, followed by the Redbird version

Here are the lyrics from the Uncle Tupelo version: 

I’ve been a moonshiner
For seventeen long years
I’ve spent all my money 
On whiskey and beer

I go to some hollow
And sit at my still 
And if whiskey don’t kill me
Then I don’t know what will

I go to some barroom
And drink with my friends
Where the women can’t follow 
And see what I spend

God bless them pretty women
I wish they was mine
Their breath is as sweet
The dew on the vine

Let me eat when I am hungry
Let me drink when I am dry 
A dollar when I am hard-up 
Religion when I die

The whole world’s a bottle
And life’s but a dram
When the bottle gets empty
It sure ain’t worth a damn

(Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Jay Stuart Farrar / Jeff Tweedy

Moonshiner lyrics © BMG Rights Management)

Other versions come from Cat Power ( and Elliot Smith (

Take a listen, tip a libation of your choice, pick your favorite version and let us know what you think!

January 24, 2020

Drinkin’ Songs 1: Kiss the Bottle by Lucero

One of the more interesting things I do in the “science” part of my job is examine how environmental factors influence drinking behavior.  One environmental factor that is particularly interesting how music influences drinking.  Of the handful of studies out there, here’s what we know: 

  • Listening to music while drinking increases the likelihood of risky decisions
  • Songs with references to substance use (regardless of genre) increase substance abuse
  • Songs with lyrics about drinking increases drinking in bars 
  • Rap and country music have the most songs with drinking lyrics
  • Loud music leads to heavy drinking
  • The faster the tempo of a song, the slower people drink

It has been suggested that lyrics about drinking often reflect the artist’s experience or portray a composite of what they commonly experience in their own lives and social circles. Still other researchers (and journalists) have suggested that alcohol serves to fuel the creative process. That is, alcohol is a muse at times, and others it is just part of the most common stories being told in songs.  That music effects the listener’s own drinking shouldn’t be surprising—but it isn’t something we commonly think about when we drink.  The fact many of my favorite artists pepper their music with alcohol-related lyrics probably says something about me.  

Since I love music and find alcohol lyrics and themes interesting, I decided to add an occasional blog related to the main podcast called “Drinkin’ Songs”.  Since the internet is full of lists of drinking songs (think Red Solo Cup, Gin and Juice, Margaritaville), I’ll feature songs and artists here you probably won’t find on any list.  I hope you enjoy!

Drinkin’ Song #1: Kiss the Bottle

The first Drinkin’ Song is Kiss the Bottle.  Originally released by the punk band Jawbreaker in 2002 on their album ’17 Reasons: The Mission District’ 3×7 (

So, what is the song about?  The meaning of lyrics are often up for interpretation by the listener, and you can read some listeners thoughts on what the song means here: When I first heard the song, I was struck by some experiences working with youth who were living on the streets.  I remember one interview with a particular kid, who described his desire not lose his girlfriend over his drinking.  He was just as worried about her drug use but he also had no intention of stopping drinking or panhandling or looking for permanent shelter.  He told me he belonged on the streets.  That was his truth and this song really makes me think of him and other kids like him.

Here are the lyrics:

Kiss The Bottle

It gets loneliest at night
Down at the liquor store
Beneath the neon sky
Our moonlightSix a.m. the floor comes alive with lice
The pan’s dried up so tight
With hardened beans
We’re hungrySo, I lean on you sometimes
Just to see if you’re still there
Your feet can’t take the weight of one
Much less two
We hit concreteHow were we born into this mess?
I know I painted you a prettier picture, baby
But we were run out on a rail
Fell from the wagon to the night train
I kissed the bottle
I should’ve been kissing you
You wake up to an empty night
With tears for two
Cigarettes they fill the gaps
In our empty days
In our broken teeth
We’re jonesin’
Say mister, can you spare a dime?
Some change could make a change
Could buy some time
Some freedom
Or an ear to hear my story
It’s all I’ve got
My fiction beats the hell out of my truth
A palm upturned burnt blue
Don’t call it sunburn
You’ve been shaking on the job
Just one drink ahead of your past
There’s a white light coming up
You draw the blinds hoping it’ll pass
I kissed the bottle
I should’ve been kissin’ you
You wake up to an empty night
With tears for two

The song was covered by Lucero and quickly became a fan favorite at their shows.  When Jawbreaker reunited in 2107 (the originally broke up in the mid 90s), Lucero stopped playing the song live. You can find their version of the song on their album the Attic Tapes (   

The Foo Fighters also covered the song ( as did Rise Against (

Other covers of the song have been done by Brandon Kelly (available on Spotify) and The VanSanders (also on Spotify).  

I am personally partial to the original and the Lucero versions.   What do you think? 

January 13, 2020

Episode 1: Noble Cut


Being an academic by trade, there is always some trepidation in having a colleague and their spouse over for dinner.  As my Ph.D. advisor told me long ago, “Most academics would be in a mental institution or prison if they weren’t professors.”  The folks that often marry into this band of socially awkward misfits can be as bad or worse than their respective spouses.  So, when I invited one of those rare “normal” colleagues and her husband to my house for dinner a few years ago, I was only half sure he would be “normal” too.  

The large gregarious man at my front door thrust a mason jar with a yellow tinge into my hands (a high-octane version of his famous Limoncello), introduced himself as Tony, and explaining he came from a long line of moonshiners.  Tony quickly went on to tell me her heard many great things about me—so many in fact—that he would like me to father his children.  Normal? No. Classic and an instant friend? Check.Over the years, I had the pleasure of sampling several of Tony’s flavored ‘shines many of which evolved into the current offerings of Nobel Cut Distillery located on the fringes of Columbus Ohio.  Tony Guilfoy is co-owner of this new addition to Columbus’s growing craft distillery scene (see for a nice overview).  I recently had the chance to sit down with Tony at the Noble Cut headquarters to discuss his evolution from moonshiner to master distiller. Enjoy the episode1 (Note sound quality is better in future episodes!)

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