When it comes to artists in country music, it doesn’t get any bigger or better than The King, Mr. George Strait. Somehow the legend keeps churning out hit after hit, album after album which serve as proof that he can still hang with today’s younger superstars. He recently charted two top fives from his hit album, Here For a Good Time. Can the album’s third single become its first chart-topper? Even if “Drinkin’ Man” doesn’t hit number one or even cracks the top 10, it will still be one of the most phenomenally brilliant songs I’ve ever heard in country music.
I’ve always said I love artists who aren’t afraid to take risks with the songs they send to country radio. With “Drinkin’ Man,” George Strait is taking one of the biggest risks I’ve seen an artist take in years. Today’s country radio playlists have become rather conservative by only allowing songs with “safe” themes take over with little room for songs that tackle real issues. I don’t think it gets more real than a song about the effects of alcoholism.
Strait, along with co-writers Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon, give us an incredible set of lyrics that tell the life story of an alcoholic man. From the struggles of attempting to quit to the effects the disease has on his parents and future relationships, this exquisite song shines light on the disturbing truth too many people have experienced. All too often those suffering from alcoholism know they must change their ways, but simply don’t feel they have the will power. The man in the song is no different as he reflects on his heartbreaking situation, but simply has this to say: “I look into the mirror, bottle in my hand, I’d like to pour it out, I just don’t think I can.” That line alone sends chills up my spine.
Strait delivers the lyrics from a first point of view which makes it seem like a narrative. This allows the singer to deliver a beautiful, simple vocal performance filled with incredible emotion. Just as some of the most timeless country classics do, this song’s production remains extremely simple. A brilliant blend of fiddle, steel guitar, and acoustic guitar make up the bulk of the production and provide an exquisite backdrop to match the stunning lyrics.
It’s almost impossible to believe that, three decades into his career, George Strait is still giving us some of the best material in country music. This is quite possibly the best song of his illustrious career. Hey CMAs, ACMs, and GRAMMYs…this song should be atop the list of potential Song of the Year lists, just giving y’all a heads up!