When Carrie Underwood Is “Drinking Alone,” It’s Not What You Think

Let Carrie Underwood make one thing clear: You can buy her a beer, but you ain’t taking her home.

That’s essentially the opening lyric and the entire message of her latest single, “Drinking Alone.” In a recent issue of Billboard Country Update, Underwood explained what the song was and was not about.

“It was important to me because we’re singing this (in the) first person. I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, we’re going to get drunk and go home together,’ because that’s not something that I would do,” Underwood says. “If it is going to be like an extreme kind of character, I think I’d rather put it in third person, or put it in a (context where) you’re speaking about somebody completely different, not use first person.”

And what she loves about this particularly haunting ballad is how she is upfront about the rules she has for drowning her sorrows. “You know, ‘This isn’t a thing, I’m not going home with you. Let’s just be here and be present and kind of get over our heartaches in the same space,’” she explained.

After writing the song with Brett James and David Garcia, Underwood recorded “Drinking Alone” at Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Recording Studio inside what used to be a Presbyterian sanctuary at the corner of 17th and McGavock in Nashville.

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Underwood and James go way way back, to the time she was just getting her post-American Idol career off the ground and he was one of the writers on her break-out, Grammy-winning “Jesus, Take the Wheel.”

As for Garcia, it sounds like Underwood just knew she wanted to work with him and that he’d make a better artist out of her.

“We’re the same age. I mean, we kind of grew up at the same time and have a lot in common as far as personality, and he’s such a great music guy and track guy,” she said of the former Christian music songwriter/producer, “and I feel like I’m better at melody and lyrics.

“We just kind of filled in each other’s gaps musically.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.