This week’s guest contributor, Calin Skidmore of Grand Rapids’ SpeakEZ Lounge, tapped a keg filled with drinking songs that fondly recall pre-pandemic days of sharing good times with friends.
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It’s only been about four months, but it seems like ages ago that revelers and music fans gathered casually and regularly for a drink or two to share good times with nary a thought of social-distancing, masks or viruses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed all that and created unprecedented challenges for taverns, restaurants and concert venues, including Grand Rapids’ SpeakEZ Lounge, which hosted the Local Spins Wednesdays concert series and Randy Marsh’s Sunday night jazz jams until mid-March.
With that in mind, part owner and music maven Calin Skidmore this week came up with a fun and nostalgic Top 10 playlist as our guest contributor of the week — “A Soundtrack for Drinking Days Gone By,” with everything from Chance the Rapper and Rihanna to The Replacements and Dan Hicks.
In his words:
“Laughing, drinking, spending time with friends (and sometimes strangers too), getting a little buzz on with rock ‘n’ roll in the background. These are things many of us took every opportunity to do in the recent past, and over the past few months we’ve realized how much we took for granted.
“So, this is a playlist to celebrate those nights and weekends spent in good company, pleasantly pliable with good drinks and good people and also follow it all the way through to the morning after. Enjoy responsibly.”
TUESDAY PLAYLIST: Calin Skidmore’s Top 10 Drinking Songs
1. “Let’s All Go to the Bar,” Deer Tick (2011) – A song that perfectly evokes that rowdy energy when a group of friends has just gathered and has the whole night ahead of them.
2. “Beer City USA,” Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish (2014) – Continuing that rowdy energy with a nod to the Grand Rapids scene.
3. “Drinkin’ Wine,” G. Love (2020) – A 2020 entry into the vast catalog of rev-up drinking songs to get things rolling ahead of a night out.
4. “Cheers (Drink to That),” Rihanna (2010) – One of the great party anthems of the past decade, Rihanna manages to make all the brand-name checking and club cliches seem natural and pure fun.
5. “All Night,” Chance the Rapper feat. Knox Fortune (2016) – Another great party track, with Chance using his gift for wordplay to hint at the darker side of the party that can bubble under the surface when you’re chasing the right vibe with the wrong people.
6. “Gin House Blues,” Nina Simone (1961) – A great version of a classic devil-may-care drinking song dating back to the Prohibition era. Sometimes you just want to drink alone.
7. “Hey Bartender,” Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks (2004) – The relationship between bartender and patron is deep and complex, fraught with ambiguity and occasionally can include some odd requests especially as the night winds down.
8. “Lived in Bars,” Cat Power (2006) – Walking the line between sweet reminiscence and melancholy, a familiar place to most folks who spend lots of time in bars.
9. “Here Comes a Regular,” The Replacements (1985) – Fully embracing the melancholy now, because sometimes that can also be celebratory. A great song about trying to find a feeling you’ve had before by repeating behavior with diminishing returns. If you don’t look back, you can never move forward.
10. “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” Kris Kristofferson (1970) – An all-time classic about the morning after. The party has to end sometime.
TUESDAY PLAYLIST: Calin Skidmore’s Songs for Drinking Days Gone By on Spotify
“Beer City USA,” Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish
Copyright 2020, Spins on Music LLC