Bruce, Bourbon, and Books: Welcome to Nebraska

Official video of Bruce, Bourbon, and Books

By Daniel Ford and Dave Pezza

It’s important to take a step back from the daily grind and pay attention to what really matters in life. You know, like good music, alcohol, and literature. This semi-regular series will expertly pair a Springsteen song, a good bourbon, and a quality book for your listening, drinking, and reading pleasure. You can make your own suggestions and recommendations in the comments section or by tweeting @WritersBone.


Daniel: That sound you hear is Dave playing Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album on repeat. He had never heard it until a few days ago and I was pleasantly reminded of how much I enjoy it. There’s really not a bad song on the album. It is horribly depressing and moody, which should suit writers and alcoholics alike.


Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

Dave: This bourbon has all classic qualities you want in an American-made dark liquor: strong whiskey smell, smooth to the pallet, and heats up on the way down. Two fingers of Woodford Reserve can mellow out a crap night and pairs beautifully with this Bruce deep cut. It’s strong and a little harsh, but it’ll bring your night some hard-nosed optimism.


The Son by Philip Meyer

The Son by Philip Meyer

Daniel: Westerns are the perfect companion for Bruce and bourbon. Have you listened to "Devils & Dust?" Sounds like it was written on the Plains in the 1800s. And I don’t have to tell you how much drinking happens in westerns. I don’t know how those guys had the energy to kill all the Native Americans in support of Manifest Destiny with all the booze they consumed.

Modern westerns tend to be hit or miss. For every "Unforgiven" there is a "Wild, Wild West." One could argue that most modern literary westerns are limited to apocalyptic novels. However, Philip Meyer’s The Son goes a long way to restoring my faith in the western genre. Meyer intertwines the stories of three members of the McCullough clan, starting with Eli, the family’s patriarch, who is captured by a Comanche tribe as a child. I was a big fan of Meyer’s American Rust, which also pairs well with brown alcohol, and I am impressed that his storytelling has gotten even stronger and more confident in this novel. It’s a long book, but never feels that way. The pages turn without you really thinking about how far along you are in the tale.

I’m not done with the novel yet, so I can’t give anything away, but it appears that all three people Meyer focuses on are headed for a rough landing. I plan on drinking copious amounts of bourbon when it all goes down.

For more Bruce/Bob, Bourbon, and Books, check out our full archive.