Welcome to Songs, Stories, and Spirits. We’ll 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!
By Dave Pezza
Song: “Hotel Women” by Patrick Sweany
Yeah, we’re pretty sweet on Patrick Sweany over here at the fictional Writer’s Bone offices. This dude is as straight up cool as Sam Elliot drinking a Coors with a Backwoods cigar in hand. Sweany’s folky blues style and deep, smooth voice offers a rare sound. “Hotel Women” might be the best of that sound. You can just about smell the blues emanating from this low, dark groove, feel it on the tip of your tongue with every movement of the slide guitar. And it smells like deep, sweet tobacco and sharp dark liquor. This song reminds me of that numb-warm sensation of drunken lips on skin. Night and day, sober and drunk, right and wrong all slides into a penumbra of glowing twilight under the spell of Sweany’s voice. The tight, crisp guitar and background organ conjures the hazy delineation of legs and blouses, the heavy pounding of heart and lungs. It makes you really wonder if you love or hate those hotel women, those hotel drinks, those hotel feelings. Or maybe it really just depends on when you’re listening: with or without your hotel woman.
Story: “When the Women Come Out To Dance”
What purveyor of fictional fantasies goes best with booze, blues, and hotel rooms? Yup, Elmore Leonard. “When the Women Come Out To Dance” comes from a short story collection of the same name. This collection has become famous because it features “Fire in the Hole,” the Raylan Givens story that sparked the FX series “Justified.” (We had the distinct pleasure of interviewing that programs head writer, Graham Yost.) It’s unfortunate, though, that the Raylan Givens story overshadows the collections other stories. There are certainly some hidden gems, and “When the Women Come Out to Dance” shines brightest. The story opens on the trophy wife of a Pakistani plastic surgeon living the high life in Miami. Mrs. Mahmood, also known by her pole-name Ginger, is looking to hire Lourdes, a Columbian mail-order bride, as her personal maid. Ginger, a “tall redheaded woman in a little green two-piece swimsuit,” requested Lourdes because of her particular skills, skills that do not necessarily include keeping a good house. Lourdes and Ginger fit nicely with our song and spirit this week. All three are provocative, intoxicating, and not at all what they seem. This Leonard shot to the dick offers that women can be as shady and terrible as the men who try to cull them, and just as entertaining.
Spirit: Eight Bells Rum from New England Distilling
Hot damn, do I have something awesome for this week’s spirit. If you, like me, love the smooth finish of dark rum but have always had a hankering for the warming punch to the throat that only bourbon can offer, then all of your fears have been assuaged. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Eight Bells Rum by New England Distillery. My cooler than thou girlfriend surprised me with a trip to Maine including an all-encompassing tour of this distillery. The two-room operation began in 2011 by a master distiller from Pennsylvania. I‘ve been on a distillery tour or two, but these guys walked us through literally every step in making their gin, rum, rye, and bourbon. And they let us taste it. All of it.
As a bourbon man, I was most interested in their take on the dark elixir, but, as a new distillery, their first batch is a whole year away from its proper age, the bourbon equivalent of jailbait. They did, however, have plenty of their rum, rum aged in former Jim Beam bourbon barrels. Yeah, read that again. This rum bites and warms like bourbon, but finishes as smooth as the devil’s tongue. I know everyone and their drunken grandfather is offering new artisan this and that, but I assure you this is something new and different, but dangerously good. It is a New England-style rum (low on cane sugar and high in molasses) at 90 proof. Like Sweany and Lourdes, this rum is not what it appears, looking dorky in its decanter-style bottle and nautical themed name, but I promise you it’s as seductive as a green-bikini clad stripper in your hotel room…