Hemingway’s Whiskey was recorded by Kris Kristofferson in 2011 on a Guy Clark Tribute album.
Listening to this song it is really easy to see why Kris recorded it. It is also difficult to believe he never wrote it.
It just SOUNDS like something Kris wrote, it fits with his passion for protecting people’s right to free speech. Ernest Hemingway’s books were burned in Berlin, after all.
Hemingway’s whiskey was actually written by Guy Clark, Ray Stephenson Joe Leathers.
Kris is one of the 33 artists who contributed to the double cd paying tribute to this dearly loved respected singer/songwriter. Icons honouring their own supporting a great cause.
“My current Kristofferson earworm, which ran through my head all night last night, is Kris singing “Hemingway’s Whiskey”, from the tribute album for Guy Clark, THIS ONE’S FOR HIM. That album got 128 positive reviews on Amazon and many of them mentioned Kris’s performance specifically. Somebody said of Kris and this song “he may not have written it, but he sure lived it.” Sadly, Clark was already fighting the lymphoma that took his life in 2016″ –Anita Lay, March 2020
Hemingway’s Whiskey Lyrics
Hemingway’s whiskey, warm and smooth and mean, even when it burns, it’ll always finish clean
He didn’t like it watered down, he took it straight up and neat, if it was bad enough for him, you know it’s bad enough for me – Hemingway’s whiskey
Ah, it’s tough out there, a good muse is hard to find, living one word to the next, one line at a time
There’s more to life than whiskey, there’s more to words than rhyme, Sometimes nothing works, sometimes nothing shines – Like Hemingway’s whiskey
Sail away, sail away, three sheets to the wind, Live hard, die-hard, this one’s for him
About the Album
The Album, This One’s for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark was nominated for a Grammy for Best Folk Album.
Band members include Camp, Verlon Thompson, Jen Gunderman, Lloyd Maines, Glenn Fukunaga, Mike Bub, Larry Atamanuik, and Kenny Malone
Looking through the credits, I realised why the album felt so familiar – Tamara Saviano, the producer, is one artistic lady.
An author in her own right, a human being Kris Kristofferson’s manager are just a few achievements that she has to her name.
She is also a grammy winning producer, she has a flair that seems to leave her perfume on everything everyone she interacts with.
More about Tamara Saviano’s own book here . The audio book has a forward read by Kris Kristofferson
Fancy a download or the whole album for yourself or as a great gift idea? If you do buy the album, you will be supporting the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas. Part of the proceeds will be donated to this worthy cause.
Last Thoughts – by Anita Lay
I love Kris’s version of this song and I couldn’t agree more that he could have written it. It’s a wonderful double-CD album. I purchased it immediately, and there are so many great songs with great renditions by Clark’s fellow songwriters — it’s extremely touching.
Tamara’s bio of Guy Clark is due to arrive today. And I must thank you for putting in the part about Tamara’s autobiography. I knew she was Kris’s publicist, but I had no idea of the scope of her talent, and her autobiography is now on my “must read” list.
Just as a final note about Guy Clark: In the video in the archives of the Country Music Association Museum of Kris and record exec Jim Fogelsong being honored in a medallion ceremony in 2005, partial snatches of performances are shown for songs associated with Fogelsong and then song written by Kris.
Guy Clark and Keith Urban do “Me and Bobby McGee” Guy Clark is obviously teasing Kris before they start. He says with a perfectly straight face “I had forgotten how good this song is. They sent me the lyrics.” and then he nods at Kris and says rather professorially “Tidy. Very tidy.”
Everyone laughs, including Kris.
One has to wonder if at some of those guitar pulls at Guy and Suzanna’s house, Guy — who was known for the leanness of his songs — didn’t josh Kris about the opulence of his — those great, loping iambic pentameters.
I see Kris as the Shakespeare of country/folk music, Clark as the Hemingway of country/folk music, Townes van Zandt as the Faulkner of country/folk music (sometimes you think he is astounding and sometimes you don’t know what the bejesus the point is), and John Prine as the Mark Twain of country/folk music.
Yeah, I like to do silly categorizations like that.
Sources: raystephenson.com , icehousemusic.com/, guyclark.com, tamarasaviano.com
Photo source: Press kit from guyclark.com , featured image is CC original here