The Pragmatist: Three Songs for Drinking Cheap Beer
With the summer wind-down in progress, it's time to finish off the last of those Coronas in the back of the fridge to make room for darker beer. Maybe it's just the years I've spent in Virginia, or maybe it was the time I spent touring with this guy, but for me, nothing pairs better with cheap Mexican beer (read: Tecate, not Bohemia) than Americana. Or is it the other way around? Either way, grab a brew and enjoy the cultural paradox.
True country-rock pioneers, The Byrds are a great place to start. Anything off the Gram Parsons-assisted Sweetheart of the Rodeo will do, but their take on Dylan's "You Ain't Going Nowhere" evokes a near-Pavlovian thirst for Negro Modelo in this writer. Here you can catch them performing it on Hugh Hefner's short-lived Playboy After Dark.
With his supremely underrated Lost Highway debut, Trouble in Mind, Hayes Carll cemented himself as another fine Texas songwriter in line with Townes Van Zandt or Steve Earle. Alcohol and heartache play heavily into most all of his tunes, including "Drunken Poet's Dream," and that's just fine by me.
D.C. troubadour Jesse Elliot is four albums deep with These United States, and when I listen to his folksy, ramblin' tunes, I always seem to find myself reaching for the nearest bottle. "I Want You To Keep Everything" brings more of their rock 'n roll tendencies to bear, and it's most certainly best enjoyed live. The rag-tag TUS crew will be bringing its pedal steel goodness to the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage for a free show tonight at 6 p.m. Although the drinks ain't cheap there, the early set should leave you with plenty of time to hit a dive on the way home.