Songs, Stories, and Spirits: The SteelDrivers, Joe Biden, and Moscow Mules

Welcome to Writer’s Bone newest bastard child: Songs, Stories, and Spirits. Daniel Ford and I decided we're only going to break out Bruce/Bob, Bourbon, and Books on special occasions and retire it as one of our signature series. But don’t fret; we’ll still be jamming unwanted opinions on good music, good stories, and good booze down your ears, eyes, and throats on a weekly basis. We hope you enjoy. And if you don’t, there is a comment section below that we more than welcome you to ignore! Cheers!—Dave Pezza


Dave: My slow descent into tolerance for country music has led me to a number of bands and artists I wouldn’t have touch with Jimmy Page’s 12-string guitar. One such artist is The SteelDrivers. To be honest, I don’t know much about them in a refreshing pre-21st century ignorance. What I do know is that the lead single off of their 2009 album, a track titled “If It Hadn’t Been For Love,” has invaded my head.

The track, and the band, might be a perfect compromise between blue grass and country, hitting all the best elements (stripped down banjo, violin, harmonizing male and female vocals) and none of the truly regrettable stigmas of each genre (that obnoxious country strum, overdone southern accents, and clichéd story premises). If you’re looking for a catchy track to belt out in the car or throw on the stereo while kicking around the house, you’ve got to give “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” a listen.


Daniel: Politics can provide writers with a treasure trove of potential story ideas. But those plots typically involve scandal, corruption, and impropriety. Rarely does the opportunity arise for writers to observe a genuine human moment in the political arena. More often than not in our recent political discourse, those qualities are exemplified in Vice President Joe Biden. If you haven’t already, check out his interview with Stephen Colbert on the Sept. 10 edition of “The Late Show:”       

Biden has been a public servant longer than most of our staff has been alive, but, even though he isn’t official a presidential candidate, he just made himself relevant in a way that the other Presidential candidates can’t. Regardless of your political affiliation, you can’t argue that Biden is a genuine, honest, human public servant. Sure he says dopey things typically reserved for drunk uncles or Rotary Club presidents, but at his core, he is still one of us. How many of your stories start with, “My mother said, this,” or “My father said, that?” Haven’t you told yourself, “Get up, get moving,” during moments of tragedy and sorrow? Haven’t you transformed your suffering into meaningful action or prose?  

Storytellers—and I mean all storytellers, not just literary authors—tend to be at their best when exploring themes through characters that honestly and empathetically deal with the fictional world around them. We go into most stories searching for a bit of ourselves, along with a good plot and snappy dialogue. Biden’s story proves that you don’t have to mine the lowest, seediest aspects of the human experience in order to be entertaining and relatable.


Dave: It’s Friday afternoon; you’ve almost made it through the week. Just a few more hours. If you’re anything like the Writer’s Bone staff, you’re using this time to decide what delicious alcoholic beverage you’re going to imbibe the minute you get home. Hopefully we can give you some more options to mull over as 5:00 p.m. slowly approaches.

Summer’s just about six feet under, but before you start buying your Shipyard Pumkpinhead and Jack-O Traveler beers in pint glasses rimmed with cinnamon and sugar…mmmmmm pumpkin beer…give one more refreshing summer cocktail a chance!

My girlfriend recently bought me some copper mugs, the mugs specifically used for the enjoyment of Moscow Mules. It was her subtle way of telling me that I should start making them for her. So like a 20-something adult in need of information, I Googled “how to make a Moscow mule,” and, as always, I was disappointed in my findings. I was able to gather the three main ingredients: vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, all three of which were already in my home bar! After many, many tries, we finally arrived at a perfectly palatable summer drink. Perfect for lounging and perfect to quench your thirst. And if you find the sweet spot between vodka and ginger beer, you’ll have pounded two or three before you can slur “weshouldhaveeatenfirst.”  I found a six- or seven-count of Kettle One vodka to a 10-count of Gosling’s ginger beer with a splash of lime juice, served in the famous copper cup loaded with ice, really does the trick.

Try one quick before summer’s officially over!