Hemingway's Whiskey

Album: Hemingway's Whiskey (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • This is the title track from American Country music recording artist Kenny Chesney's fourteenth album. The song was written and originally recorded by the Country singer-songwriter Guy Clark on his 2009 album, Somedays The Song Writes You. Clark, whose music career started in the '60s, told us: "There's a lot of stuff I wrote early that I wouldn't write now. But that's just growing up. It certainly doesn't get easier."
  • Chesney explained why he this was the perfect candidate to be the title track: "I was sitting in my truck and a friend had given me Guy's album, which had just come out. It's a song that talks about living life to its fullest, being a man about your responsibilities and not compromising. As soon as I heard it, I knew I had to cut it - and call the album that - because it says everything about the way you live your life, and what life can be if you refuse to buy into limits, which, as someone who's read all his books, is everything Hemingway's novels revolved around."
  • Chesney explained to Billboard magazine what prompted him to cover this track: "My favorite book ever is The Old Man and the Sea. Those two characters in that book remind me of the relationship I had with my grandfather. It was an important one. I've been asked many times, on many different occasions, if there was one person you'd want to sit and have a beer with, living or dead, who would it be? And it would probably be Ernest Hemingway. He's traveled, he's met all these wonderful characters, he's written about them, he's loved, he's lost love, he's lived with regret, he's lived with depression, he's lived with so much stuff. Why wouldn't you want to have a beer and pick his brain... on a good day? And he loved life.
    When I saw the title on a Guy Clark record, I was curious. I wonder what that means, wonder what he's talking about? And I listened to it, and it's a celebration of how he kind of walked between the raindrops. I do that a lot. I've spent a lot of time on my boat down in the Keys and over in Bimini and the Bahamas, and those are all places where he hung out. I haven't been to Cuba yet. But when I heard this song, it just took me to those places. It took me to a state of mind. I love that part of the song where it says, "Sail away, sail away, three sheets to the wind/live hard, die hard, this one's for him." Because I do, I live a pretty fast life. Even though I'm very healthy and regimented in my diet and everything, we live hard. We don't live as hard as the guys on Deadliest Catch, now they live hard. But we're in a different place every day, we're a lot like modern day pirates. So I get what that line is. It's not about being drunk at all. It's about being pedal to the metal. When I heard that line, it about killed me. I felt this odd kinship to that song.
    I don't know what I'd ask Hemingway if I had a beer with him. We'd have to have whiskey, I guess."

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