Bradley Gaskin – “Mr. Bartender”

C.M. Wilcox | March 16th, 2011

Bradley GaskinHere’s the backstory as I imagine it: Sensing radio’s inborn prejudice against gray hair, Travis Tritt hires some kid from Alabama to be the face of his new music in a homegrown Milli Vanilli style stunt, the details of which aren’t revealed until several months (or years!) later, by which time Tritt’s voice has again become so firmly seated atop the country charts as to not be easily moved by any piddling image concerns.

Farfetched, maybe, but you’ll half-believe it hearing the debut single of Columbia Nashville’s Bradley Gaskin, whose small frame and clean-cut appearance belie a big, soulful country voice. The problem—if there is one—is that Gaskin’s voice might be too similar to Tritt’s, leaving him open to charges of imitation. As it happens, he’s even recording for the singer’s own former label.

The comparison is ultimately a flattering one. Travis Tritt is one hell of a singer, so even a convincing imitation would be no small feat. If more people could sing like this, they would. And if this is just naturally what Bradley Gaskin sounds like, all the better.

“Mr. Bartender” is a straightforward barroom lament that would have been right at home on country radio in the ’90s, but sounds downright insurgent all these years later. Digging in his boot heels and wailing against a pure honky tonk arrangement, Gaskin pleads for liquid relief: “I’m counting on something to ease this pain I’ve got/Mister Bartender, take me out with one shot. Shot/shot, see? That’s about the height of the song’s cleverness, but good-enough lyrics are elevated by a better vocal and bold stylistic moves all around, making this feel almost like a throwing down of the gauntlet: Will country stations play anything this, well, country?

Surprisingly, early signs point to it being possible. Originally set to be released in May, the single was fast-tracked after Gaskin’s performance of it at CRS set programmers buzzing. Now we’ll see if they have the fortitude to make it a hit.

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Listen: Bradley Gaskin – “Mr. Bartender”

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  1. [...] a review of his new single “Mr. Bartender” over on The 9513 and listen in [...]
  2. [...] song, “Hey Bartender” has received critical acclaim. The problem with critics they often have no clue what listeners really want to [...]
  3. [...] Music Review gives the Gaskin single an 8 out ten ratings | The 9513 gives "Mr. Bartender" a rare [...]
  1. Dave D.
    March 16, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Good stuff. I wonder if he is any relation to Jim Gaskin from the Renfro Valley Barn Dance.

  2. CAROL
    March 16, 2011 at 8:36 am


  3. Barry Mazor
    March 16, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Sign him up! (And maybe consider a duet for him with that other Bradley-Bradley Walker.)

  4. Karlie
    March 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Great stuff! Nice review C.M. – the Travis Tritt similarities don’t bother me, just like Easton Corbin and Jon Wolfe’s Strait sounds don’t. It’s almost comforting…

  5. Ben Foster
    March 16, 2011 at 9:15 am

    The similarities don’t bother me either. I’m lovin this single. It sure would be great to see radio give it a chance. Even if it doesn’t, I still applaud Bradley Gaskin for not being afraid to lay on the twang!

  6. Thomas
    March 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

    …kinda rare these days, but most welcome – a country song that has country written all over it.

  7. Nancy
    March 16, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Bradley has a voice that is out of this world. He has a very amazing voice and is a very amazing person. Even if he is “SMALL FRAMED” his VOICE makes people very aware of him. Haven’t you ever heard that dynamite comes in SMALL packages. Size of a person does not make the person and should not matter. This young man is going to go very high up in country music. He is bringing back the old country music that most people love to listen to. I personally know Bradley and I can asure everyone that he is no IMITATION of anyone and does not plead for liquid relief of any kind. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK BRADLEY AND LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR CD!!!

  8. Matt B
    March 16, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I talked with a radio friend about that exact compliment. They said their listener feedback was “It sounds like Travis Tritt” then I pointed out what Karlie said above, but Easton sounds like George Strait. They were like ‘fair point.’ It might meet resistance in fully-produced form or be one of the many occasions where people in radio love it but then they can’t add it to their dial before it hits Top 20.

  9. Rick
    March 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Well its nice to see Bradley already has crazed fangurls at this early stage in his career! (lol)

    The Easton/George and Bradley/Travis comparisons are very valid but George Strait has remained an active Top 10 artist for decades while Travis Tritt’s star faded at mainstream country radio years ago. Heck, even Alan Jackson is seemingly fading off the charts these days with no replacement in sight. I do hope this single does well, and like Clay Walker’s latest single, it moves AirHead Country Radio back towards the sound of the 1990′s (well, excluding Garth anyway).

  10. J.R. Journey
    March 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    “… the Travis Tritt similarities don’t bother me, just like Easton Corbin and Jon Wolfe’s Strait sounds don’t. It’s almost comforting…?

    It’s comforting to me too. It’s sort of like hearing a new Travis Tritt single on the radio – and a really good one too. I’d have had the same opinion of Easton Corbin as well, if any of his songs were this good.

  11. CountryMusicFan
    March 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    It really doesn’t bother me that he sounds like Travis Tritt in this song. I heard some other songs of his and there wasn’t as much of a similarity. All that really matters to me is, the song is country, and I like it.

  12. Noeller
    March 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Love it — great sound! Really hoping this gets some traction at radio, because we desperately need this to counter the LadyA/Taylor/Carrie/Reba stuff of late.

  13. luckyoldsun
    March 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Why was Travis Tritt drummed out of the business, anyway? Both he and Clint Black were in the top tier of country stars in the ’90s. Now, they can’t seem to even find a record label that’s willing to put out any new music of theirs.

  14. Mike Wimmer
    March 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    The song is a nice listen, probably the best thing John Rich has been a part of since he produced John Anderson’s “Easy Money”.

    The guy’s voice is great, the first line of the song sounds EXACTLY like Tritt, but then it jumps up to sounding just like John Rich almost.

    I’m still skeptical this will be a hit though, I hope it is since Country Radio needs more songs like this and less pop, but I’m not sure it has the accessibility that was found with Easton Corbin or Chris Young.

  15. Waynoe
    March 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    @Noeller – I believe Tritt is self-producing now as the latest label try went belly-up on him. He is ABSOLUTELY one of the best vocalist of the past two decades. A shame for sure that he isn’t still prominent.

  16. Kyle
    March 17, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I don’t think the song itself has a whole lot going for it besides a traditional sound… but wow, what a vocal.

    On that note… holy crap:

  17. AtlantaFan
    March 18, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the link Kyle. I watched a few Youtube videos and now agree he doesn’t always sound just like Travis Tritt. Now I realize he’s going to be in Atlanta next Saturday, so I’m interested to hear what he sounds like in a live show.

  18. Cassidy Rice
    April 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

    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”

  19. Caitlyn Bitler
    June 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Amazing. Pure Amazing. Can’t stop replaying, I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE THIS SONGGG!!

  20. matt
    July 24, 2011 at 5:20 am

    is this a new song cause i think ive heard it before like george jones or mickey gilley i may be wrong i always thought you’ve got 2 stand 4 something was older than aaron tippin and it wasnt maybe it was just it sounded like it was but i swear ive heard this song before i could be wrong

  21. Maria Watson
    August 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Wow !!!! /Awesome voice “You are the Man”!!!!


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