Bradley Gaskin - "Mr. Bartender"
By: Matt Bjorke
At Nashville’s annual Country Radio Seminar, radio programmers converge on Nashville along with record label regional promotion staff and the staffs that are based in Nashville. Add in journalists like me and you’ve got the makings of what may be the toughest audience to impress in music. So when word came that Alabama-native Bradley Gaskin had not only impressed folks during his lone performance, he got them all to stand up and give a rousing ovation. Buzz continued throughout the rest of the conference and with plenty of radio programmers asking for “Mr. Bartender” to play it immediately, Columbia Nashville smartly gave them what they wanted and moved up the release of this single by a whole two months. This release caught the label by so much surprise that there hasn’t been an official photo shoot and Bradley didn’t even have an official website placeholder until just yesterday.
Gaskin, nicknamed the Honky Tonk General by his fans in Alabama, caught the attention of John Rich who invited him to participate in the “Get Rich Talent Contest” and now serves as his mentor/promoter. Self-written by Gaskin, “Mr. Bartender” is the kind of neo-classic honky tonk tune that was a staple of country radio until about 10 years or so ago and immediate comparisons will be drawn between Bradley Gaskin and Travis Tritt. It’s like Easton Corbin being compared to George Strait. You’re not going to be able to run away from these comparisons.
With that little bit of ‘house cleaning’ over, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of “Mr. Bartender.” (click to listen) It’s a classic country ballad about a man who is ‘counting on something to ease the pain I got, Mr. Bartender, take me out with one shot.” It’s such a clever song I’m surprised that nobody had thought of this before (or at least TM the phrase, “Mr. Bartender, Take Me Out With One Shot”). Bradley Gaskin’s strong baritone is as country as corn bread and his songwriting is strong and the production serves to accentuate that vocal instead of being bombastic rock and roll, it’s country country country.
For fans hoping that a tide of traditional-leaning country music is coming, it sure seems like the Zac Brown Band, Easton Corbin, et al. have opened up the gates to allow someone like Bradley Gaskin to succeed with a song that only two years ago would’ve been laughed at as ‘too country’ for ‘country music,’ which, my friends has always been laughable to me.