Features

Songs You Forgot You Loved: David Lee Murphy’s ‘Dust on the Bottle’

Screengrab via YouTube

Although his name still gets recognized and his songwriting style remains mainstream, “Dust on the Bottle” singer David Lee Murphy is the type of artist whose decent career preceded the similar-sounding works of much bigger stars.

Murphy’s lone number one hit as a performer, “Dust on the Bottle,” came out in 1994 on his debut album for MCA Nashville, Out With a Bang. That same year, another chaser of the party crowd entered the public eye, with Capricorn Records issuing the first Kenny Chesney long-player, In My Wildest Dreams. Despite Murphy’s instant success, he’d eventually take a backseat to the surging fame of Chesney, a like-minded friend and collaborator in the years to come.

Of course, a talent like Chesney might’ve risen to the top without a radio hero paving the way, and it’s not like Murphy became obscure after the instant success of “Dust on the Bottle.” Still, it’s plain to see that Murphy, an artist with a hit that would’ve suited any album from Chesney or Tim McGraw’s careers, was clearly ahead of his time.

An Acoustic Barroom Favorite

When I was an undergrad (2004-2008), every acoustic singer-songwriter in my college town knew this song. Whether they also sang Chesney’s hits or welcomed the mainstream arrival of Jack Johnson, these dudes with an ear for current music couldn’t get enough of a 10-plus year-old country hit. And it’s not like any of them came across as excavators of  deep cuts, seeking less-obvious Dean Dillon compositions to wow the coffee shop scene. By all means, they loved the song simply because it fit in with other barroom sing-alongs from the ‘aughts.

The Ideal Songwriter For New Stars

Although Murphy’s solo career became stop-and-go by the end of the century, his songwriting became vital to Nashville as new Chesney peers stepped to the forefront. In addition to writing Chesney’s “Living In Fast Forward,” “Pirate Flag” and other hits, Murphy had a hand in songs for Jason Aldean (“The Only Way I Know,” “Big Green Tractor”) and Blake Shelton (“The More I Drink”). Murphy’s songwriting, as captured way back in 1994, definitely suited these pop-accessible megastar’s repertoires.

Murphy released an album (co-produced by Chesney) as recently as 2017, making him quite the active one-hit wonder. It makes since, though, considering his one hit pretty much predicted country music’s future.

“Dust on the Bottle” Lyrics

Creole Williams lived down a dirt road

Made homemade wine like nobody I know

Dropped by one Friday night and said “Can you help me, Creole

Got a little girl waitin’ on me and I wanna treat her right”

“I got what you need son; it’s sittin’ down in the cellar”

He reached through the cobwebs

As he turned on the light and said

 

“There might be a little dust on the bottleBut don’t let it fool ya about what’s inside

There might be a little dust on the bottle

It’s one of those things that gets sweeter with time”

 

She was sittin’ in the porch swing as I pulled up the driveway

My ol’ heart was racing as she climbed inside

She slid over real close and drove down to the lake road

Watched the Sun fade in that big red sky

I reached under the front seat and said “Now here’s something special

It’s just been waiting for a night like tonight”

 

There might be a little dust on the bottle

But don’t let it fool ya about what’s inside

There might be a little dust on the bottle

It’s one of those things that gets sweeter with time

 

You’re still with me, and we’ve made some memories

After all these years there’s one thing I’ve found

Some say good love, well, it’s like a fine wine

It keeps getting better as the days go by

 

There might be a little dust on the bottle

But don’t let it fool ya about what’s inside

There might be a little dust on the bottle

It’s one of those things that gets sweeter with time

 

There might be a little dust on the bottle

But don’t let it fool ya about what’s inside

There might be a little dust on the bottle

It’s one of those things that gets sweeter with time

Don’t let it fool ya

Now Watch: Country Hits Turning 20 in 2018

recommended for you

Songs You Forgot You Loved: David Lee Murphy’s ‘Dust on the Bottle’