Story Behind The Song: Luke Bryan's "Drink A Beer"
By: Alanna Conaway
Hit songwriter Jim Beavers is back on the country singles chart with another smash that shows no sign of slowing down. Beavers, along with Mercury Nashville artist Chris Stapleton, are the two writers behind Luke Bryan's new hit on the rise, "Drink a Beer." Roughstock recently caught up with Beavers to talk about the day the song was born.
"Chris and I had been writing a lot together, and were in a good groove, creatively," Beavers tells Roughstock. "We had the chorus for 'Drink a Beer,' but for some reason didn't really know what it was about. We just knew we liked the way it sounded. There was a heaviness to the melody and imagery of that guy on the pier by himself. I remember we tried a lot of dead-end scenarios of why the guy went out there but none of them ever felt right. Thankfully, we finally settled on the notion that the guy went out there to be alone and contemplate the bad news he'd gotten about losing someone close to him. All of a sudden the chorus and melody made perfect sense to us.
"I distinctly remember the lightning bolt moment when we figures out the singer went to the pier to drink a beer because that's what he and his loved one used to do together," Beavers continues. "To me, that is the point of the song. I've heard and read some people wondering why the guy in the song thinks simply drinking beer is the appropriate response to the news he got that day. I guess they aren't listening to the lyrics in the bridge where the singer reveals that this pier is where he used to come with his lost love one. That felt real to us as writers. The song isn't about the weeks, months and years of missing someone; its about that terrible moment when you get terrible news. What do you do? What can you do? The answer is there is nothing you can do but try to absorb the shock.
"Chris and I decided the song didn't need a full studio demo," adds Beavers. "Chris is one of the greatest singers on the planet, so a simple guitar/vocal is all we did for the song ... just me and Chris playing guitar with him singing in one take. When you have a song that is emotional lyrically that's often all it wants. It had been around town for at least a year or so when I got word that Luke's producer, Jeff Stevens, heard it and really liked it. By that time I was beginning to wonder if anyone else thought the song was as cool as I did. Thankfully Mike Whelan and Dale Dodson at my publishing company, Sony, played it for him. Jeff is a great songwriter himself so it takes something special to get his attention. He loved the song, and more importantly, believed Luke would love the song as well. And he was right ... Luke did love it, enough to record it.
"Of course, not at lot of people knew Luke's story and how he has had to deal with tremendous losses [of his brother and sister]," Beavers notes. "He's since told me the song really hit home with him, and he hopes other people would connect to it like he did and maybe find a little healing because of it. I love the song, but Jeff and Luke took it to a different level when they cut it. It is without a doubt one of my favorite cuts ever."