Whisky and freedom are as American as mother and apple pie and listening to this Willie Nelson rendition of the Johnny Bush classic “Whisky River” is a reminder of the connection between free spirits and good spirits.
As has been pointed out elsewhere on The Transcendental Dram, whisky, bourbon and the taxes levied on them were themes that helped pay for the American Revolution. Thanks to Nelson’s support for the Farm Aid movement, “Whisky River” has become something of an anthem for those who advocate individual freedom and toil to produce the grains that make fine spirits… and feel over-taxed for the privilege of doing so.
Somewhere along the line, whisky songs, like blues tunes, inadvertently offer a lamentation on women. “Whisky river, don’t run dry, don’t let her memory torture me…”, Nelson wails
At a time where individual freedom and state power are having at each other in the American political arena, the woman in the song just might be Lady Liberty.