Music

See Bobby Bare’s Tragic Video for ‘I Drink’

 

Bobby Bare’s cover of Mary Gauthier’s “I Drink” isn’t exactly the drinking song some might expect from a grizzled veteran of country music. Stereotypically, the title could apply to a song about a night at the bar spent forgetting life’s struggles. For Bare and the characters in his new video, drinking worsens matters, allowing past tragedies to repeat themselves.

The video begins with an alcoholic father, accidentally killing his innocent daughter during a marital dispute. A well-dressed man is then shown and revealed to be the deceased girl’s brother. He pensively looks at an old family photo before continuing to partake in his father’s fatal vice. By the video’s end, the mix of drinking and depression leads to the man’s suicide.

Through it all, Bare appears as a reverse guardian angel of sorts. He’s the human embodiment of alcoholism, eager to snuff out the lives of his victims.

As for the song itself, Bare’s aging, cracking voice adds a sense of sadness and desperation to this heartbreaking tale. It’s not hyperbole to compare it to how latter-day Johnny Cash’s weathered voice provided a new interpretation to “Hurt” and other cover songs. Plus, it’s easy to assume that decades on the road has forced Bare to witness the effects of addiction wear down others, adding a voice of seasoned experience to a tragic tale.

The video comes across as a public service announcement for those struggling with drinking and depression. It ends with the phone number for SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

The entire presentation presents a moral question for all country music artists. Does performing music known to play at honky-tonk bars from the West Coast to Myrtle Beach, S.C. make artists obligated to speak out against excessive drinking? It’s encouraging when weighing this dilemma to hear a true living legend’s mindful, well-intentioned input on such matters.

“I Drink” Lyrics

He’d get home about five thirty
Fix a drink and sit down in his chair
Pick a fight with mama
Complain about us kids getting in his hair
At night he’d sit alone, smoke
I’d see his frown behind the lighter’s flame
That same frown’s in my mirror
I got my daddy’s blood inside my veins
Fish swim, birds fly
Daddies yell, mamas cry
Old men sit and think
I drink
You got your chicken TV dinner
Six minutes on defrost, three on high
A beer to wash it down with
Then another little whiskey on the side
It’s not so bad alone here
It don’t bother me that every night’s the same
I don’t need another lover
Hanging round, trying to make me change
Fish swim, birds fly
Lovers leave, by and by
Old men sit and think
I drinkI know what I am
But I don’t
I don’t give a damnFish swim, birds fly
Daddies yell, mamas cry
Old men sit and think
I drink

WATCH: The Most Shocking Moments in Country Music History

recommended for you

See Bobby Bare’s Tragic Video for ‘I Drink’