It’s been rumored that famous author Earnest Hemingway never wrote a single word unless he was sufficiently buzzed up off alcohol. A lot of artists drink, some of whom even suffer with alcohol abuse and addiction, such as Keith Whitley. Many hit country songwriters have had their fair share of alcohol, and hopefully they’re able to keep it under control and drink responsibly. But why is alcohol such a go-to staple for country music songwriting?
It’s not as if they’re teaching you about it in songwriting classes, and most songwriting tips aren’t going to tell you to buy a 12 pack of Silver Bullets to hone your craft. But from “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” and “Whiskey River” to “Friends in Low Places” and “Drinkin’ Beer and Wastin’ Bullets,” there are tons of songwriters out there writing about alcohol. Hell, one of Brad Paisley’s most famous songs ever is simply called “Alcohol.” That pretty much sums it up.
A lot of amateur country music songwriters on the cusp of breaking into the industry also write fantastic songs about alcohol. In fact, out of all the world’s musical genres, country music might hold the distinction of having the most songs written about alcohol than any other genre. And it’s far more than just a phase or a fad. Back in the days of Hank Williams, there were plenty of songs about it. In today’s atmosphere of short, snappy country radio hits, there are still songs about it. The simple fact of the matter is that writing about drinking, whether it’s beer, whiskey, or tequila making some woman’s clothes fall off, someone is always going to be writing about it and singing it.
Why So Much Hit Country Radio Music is About Drinking
Put yourself into the shoes of a hit country songwriter, if you can. Or, if you prefer, just any songwriter. Or, if you are a songwriter yourself, you may understand this, even if you don’t have any country music radio hits to your name… yet! People write love songs because love is a great thing. It makes you feel good. It impacts your life. The same thing with a broken heart. You don’t need to sign up with a service and take songwriting classes to understand that impactful things bring on the inspiration to write. Well, this is the effect alcohol has on millions of people. It helps us wash our blues away. It helps us feel better. It helps us blend in and mingle socially. It can quell our anxiety. You can take a load off and just enjoy things.
This is going to come through in hit country songwriting a lot more than other things in life. All except for love and sorrow, alcohol is on the list as a top topic and always will be. So, if you’re asking why so many country music songwriters are writing about alcohol, the real question you should be asking is: Why aren’t you?