This semi-regular series alternates between Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen songs that perfectly complement a good bourbon and a quality book. You can make your own suggestions and recommendations in the comments section or by tweeting @WritersBone.
Daniel: In my opinion, there isn’t a bad version of “Tangled Up in Blue,” but Dave Pezza is hung up on the bootleg version. What makes choosing a favorite tough is that Dylan changes the lyrics every time he features it on an album or sings it live in concert (of course, you can say that about a lot of his songs). “Tangled Up in Blue” is essentially a short story about a character that can’t get his life together. Some cool things happen to him (“she bent down the laces to my shoes), but he doesn’t grow or find any enlightenment during the course of the tune. If you’re a writer and you don’t listen to this song at least once or twice a week (okay, fine, a day), then you’re not doing it right.
A first for “Bob, Bourbon, and Books:” An interview with a bourbon distillery! More specifically, one with Harlen Wheatley, master distiller for Buffalo Trace, which we paired with “Most of the Time” and Ecstatic Cahoots: Fifty Short Stories by Stuart Dybek.
Daniel Ford: Can you give us a little history on yourself and your distillery?
Harlen Wheatley: With a history dating back 200+ years, the best way to relay it is here:
DF: Buffalo Trace is home to some impeccable bourbon labels, including the exceptional Pappy Van Winkle. What makes your brands special in today’s bourbon market?
HW: I would say two things really stand out in my mind: consistency and variety. By that I mean we have very controlled taste profiles for each of our bourbons and we follow those taste profiles to maintain consistency. So the bourbon you order today at the bar should have the same taste profile if you go to the liquor store and buy that same bourbon off the shelf today or a year from now. As far as variety goes, we have a range of bourbons for everyone, starting at 4-year-old bourbon and going up to a 23-year-old bourbon. We also have multiple mashbill recipes we use as well. So if you like bourbon, chances are good we’ll have a bourbon that you like.
DF: I assume everyone isn’t a diehard Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen fan like I am. So, if you had to pair your bourbon with any song, which one would it be and why?
HW: I believe you could almost use “Born in the USA” as a theme song for Buffalo Trace, since it is an authentic Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and it cannot be born anywhere else. “My Hometown” might work too.
DF: Can you name one random fact about the Buffalo Trace Distillery?
HW: We have 378 acres here at the Trace!
Sean Tuohy: Master author David Morrell takes readers on a journey through pre-World War I America in his fast paced historical fiction novel, Last Reveille. The well-researched book explores a time in America before it became an overwhelming super power. The story follows a young calvary solider as he enters Mexico with an American force to find and capture famed bandit Pancho Villa. The young solider builds a relationship with a wildness fighter named Miles Calendar. Calendar is an aged fighter who has been part of every military action since the Civil War. Morrell paints a vivid picture of a Mexican landscape filled with danger and dotted with rough and grizzled men. At its heart, the novel is a western about violent men living in a violent world. It pulls you by the collar and forces you to down a stiff drink.
For more Bruce/Bob, Bourbon, and Books, check out our full archive.