Single Review: Bradley Gaskin, “Mr. Bartender”

In a surprising twist to 2011, it seems that certain songs are hearkening back to country music’s glory days of the nineties. Newcomer Bradley Gaskin’s “Mr. Bartender” is one such example.

There’s no telling how this song could play on current mainstream country radio alongside the pop and rock country being played there, but it’s an unapologetic throwback to the neo-traditional sound of the nineties. Furthermore, Gaskin sounds uncannily similar to one of the decade’s superstars, Travis Tritt. In fact, his soulful voice coupled with a hardcore production, not to mention theme, could easily be mistaken as an unreleased album track of Tritt’s. However, as appealing as that comparison may seem, the song itself sounds more like good filler rather than a strong single that can stand on its own, therefore, rendering it almost all but forgettable.

The barroom weeper possesses many of the elements that make a great, pure country song, but the package as a whole comes off as more of a calculated imitation rather than a fresh take on one of country music’s most prosperous decades.

Gaskin’s got the powerhouse pipes and admirable traditional sensibilities, including being the sole writer of the song. So, all he needs now is to develop his own identity, which will make him more memorable in his own right instead of seeming like a very talented clone of somebody else.

Ultimately though, “Mr. Bartender” and its singer are a welcome diversion and, hopefully, a sign of country music becoming more recognizable as such again.

Written by Bradley Gaskin

Grade: B+

Listen: Mr. Bartender


18 Comments on Single Review: Bradley Gaskin, “Mr. Bartender”

  1. I don’t view it as a filler song, but it may be because I have been waiting for some good country music for a long time. I personally could listen to this song all day. I believe it could be a hit if country radio would only play it half as often as they play Taylor Swift. Unfortunately, hearing Jamey Johnson on the radio is becoming a rare occurrence now. So, I’m doubting this makes it into the top 20 even though it should be a top 10. Let’s just hope people will discover him through the internet. It would be a shame for such a great talent to go unheard.

  2. I don’t care much for this song but I agree he’s got the pipes. I liked his take on the Keith Whitley song “Don’t Close Your Eyes” which I found on you-tube.

  3. Thank you Leeann. I was excited to listen to this song after other glowing reviews, but was disappointed that instead of offering something new and exciting to country music tradition of drinking songs, it came off as filling a stereotype about those types of songs. Do we really need another song about someone drinking away the memory of a lost love in a bar? Where’s the originality?

    I know hard-core traditionalists will be all over this song’s unmistakable twang and throwback production, but isn’t enough to make this song a winner for me. But I do give Bradley a lot of credit for daring to embrace traditional country in a time when that style couldn’t be more unpopular with the mainstream country audience. He dares to stand out, and it’s helping him get noticed.

    I also agree that country music is seeming more country these days. It’s allowing acts like Miranda Lambert and Sunny Sweeney to finally get airplay and that’s never a bad thing. Of course, the Jason Aldeans of the world aren’t going away any time soon, but a balance between the two is always nice.

  4. Well said, LeAnn. I don’t know if I would go so far as to call it filler, but it definitely wouldn’t have been a standout song 15 years ago. The fact that this song was the talk of CRS and is already getting a great deal of critical acclaim is a testament to just how far the genre has fallen in the last 10-12 years. Still, I’ll take Bradley Gaskin and Easton Corbin all day over most of the garbage being mascaraed as country music these days (Steel Magnolia & JaneDear Girls anyone?).


  6. Now that the echo from CAROL’s audacious comment has faded…

    I love the throwback nineties neotrad arrangement, not to mention the awesome Tritt-esque vocal. It’s tempting to give the song a total free pass based on those characteristics alone, but I didn’t really find the song itself particularly distinctive on its own. But overall, I still think this is a really good single.

  7. Don’t get me wrong, I’d take this over just about anything that’s on the radio right now, but I can’t give it a free pass based on my personal taste alone.

  8. we love you bradley! i can remember the time when you went into another room to sing cause you didn’t want us to see you. you have came a long way and you deserve it. god has blessed you with those pipes so you can bless us. keep on keeping on and can’t wait to buy tshirts and cds.

  9. Now if we can get a review of Whitey Morgan’s single Bad News and Craig Campbell’s Family Man next that would be great! It could be three actual country songs written about in a week hahaha!

  10. Not bad – as someone else noted, it reminds me of something Travis Tritt might have recorded in his earlier days.

    It’s not ground breaking but it’s better than most of what I hear on modern country radio

  11. …it may not be a world-beater, but it’s a mighty fine country song and i think, it’ll do quite well on the charts. the fact, that most things that happen in bars are probably told already more than once in country music should not be held against him – he makes up for that by doing everything else just fine.

    and who knows, it might even spark a little travis tritt revival, which i wouldn’t mind for a second.

  12. guys you will be hearing a LOT more from this young man. you can also trust me when i say this is not TAVIS TRITT. this young man has a GOD given talent and he will make it to the top of the charts.

  13. I hear negative comments for this song. But thats just how it all is in anything that we do. The deal with this song is that its a traditional country song. Not your Lady Gaga, or Taylor Swift pop/country noise. Texas loves it!!!

  14. Bradley Gaskin is one of my favorite new country artists. Been listening to “Mr. Bartender” for the past couple weeks and I love his voice! Check out some of his other songs on YouTube. They’re all really good. Heres the link to his song “I Hate That Beach”

  15. Great to hear a good country song for a change. What he does on utube doesn’t sound nearly as good as the real recording because he doesn’t have the musical instruments playing with him on utube. The radio stations seem to be playing this song pretty often and its going to be a big hit for this young man.

  16. I have not heard mr bartender for a while. And that’s not working for me. Mr gaskim is amazing I think he is a cross between George jones and johnny paycheck please play him more

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