Jake Owen’s ‘Down to the Honkytonk’ Is a Traditional Burst of Nostalgia
Jake Owen leans hard into traditional country influences with "Down to the Honkytonk," a song that borrows liberally from '80s and '90s country legends.
Has a steel guitar every permeated a Jake Owen single as noticeably as it does during this barroom singalong? The opening guitar lick tips a hat to Alabama while the slow, swampy distortion is about as close to "Fishin' in the Dark" as you can get without bringing about a lawsuit. The Floridian just got done proving that there are country hits to be made in those classic rock and country samples. Has he unintentionally done it again?
It's difficult to imagine "Down to the Honkytonk" becoming anything but Owen's second straight No. 1 song — something he hasn't done in five years. We've grown used to a certain kind of song from the "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)" hitmake,r and while he keeps a progressive beat, the 36-year-old finds new ground with a deep country timbre that'd make singers of two decades ago proud.
Owen avoids any temptation to outsmart his audience lyrically, which in the end might be why this big, easy, contagious romper becomes his biggest hit since "Barefoot Blue Jean Night." Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird and Shane McAnally wrote "Down to the Honkytonk."
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Jake Owen's "Down to the Honkytonk" Lyrics:
Got a house down a back road / Got a flag on the front porch / Got a dog named Waylon / Got a driveway that needs paving / Got a boat with a two-stroke / A couple guaranteed to make you laugh jokes / I got friends in low places / Yeah, life is what you make it.
Might not end up in the hall of fame / Or a star on a sidewalk with my name / Or a statue in my hometown when I'm gone / Nobody gonna name their babies after me / I might not go down in history / But I'll go down to the honky-tonk.
Got a girl named Sheila / She goes bat- on tequila / Got a job that gets the job done / I got a loan at the bank it's a big one / The only place you might see my name / Is on a wall, for a good time call / I'm a local legend on a Friday night / In the Pabst Blue Ribbon neon light.
I go down to the honky-tonk / I go down to the honky-tonk / I go down to the honky-tonk.