Images of smoky jazz bars typically come to mind when pairing cigars and country music. However, these days the segment of the music industry that is genuinely smokin’ is country music. Cigars have frequently popped up in country music songs, returning to the days of Johnny Cash singing about fancy folks smoking big cigars in Folsom Prison Blues. Many of today’s artists have fully embraced the cigar-smoking lifestyle. Often cigars are celebrated in their lyrics or as an essential instrument on tour.
Brad Paisley and Cuban Cigars
Country music star Brad Paisley has been one of the hottest acts in country music for more than 20 years and has had almost as many number-one songs on the charts. He is also a dyed-in-the-wool cigar fan. He says, “Cigarettes are a habit; cigars are an event.” It has become a tradition for him and the band members to finish a show, sneak out to one of the upper sections of seats and light cigars, and watch the roadies tear down the sets.
Cigars and Country Music: The Cigar Song
Sometimes art imitates life. Brad Paisley wrote “The Cigar Song,” which has become a crowd favorite. An urban legend of a wealthy lawyer who bought a box of Cuban cigars and had them insured against fire inspired the song. When he finally smoked the last one, he filed a claim that he lost the cigars in 24 “little fires.” The insurance company eventually paid the claim, but he was arrested the following week on 24 counts of arson.
The song’s first line speaks volumes; “Well, I’m a sucker for fine Cuban cigars.” Brad’s first cigar was a Cuban Montecristo while on tour in Canada. His favorite smokes are Montecristo Number 2 and Punch Grand Cru.
Cigars and Country Music: Old Dominion Smokes on Tour
Rising country music group, Old Dominion, is also post-show cigar fans. Which is fitting, given they all met in Virginia, a state known for its rich tobacco heritage. The 2018 CMA Vocal Group of the Year Award Winners look forward to a cigar at the end of shows as a celebration. For them, it’s a victory cigar, as they are still trying to get accustomed to their newfound success. They have come a long way from the Swisher Sweets many of the band members initially smoked, now favoring Padron 1964 Anniversary Series and My Father’s Cigars while on the road. However, they also enjoy more eclectic lines like Crowned Heads and Herrera Esteli, which is fitting given their sometimes eclectic musical style.
Luke Bryan is a Sure Thing
Some country music stars take their love of cigars to the next level. Why have a humidor when you can own an entire lounge? That’s what country music and American Idol star Luke Bryan did. As the co-owner of Shore Thing Cigars in Florida, Luke combined some of his favorite loves; great beers, a comfortable room for friends, and his favorite cigars. Luke even personally selected the tobacco blend for his line of cigars made by Davidoff. If you ask Brad Paisley, Old Dominion, or Luke Bryan how they enjoy their cigars, they would all answer with the last line from “The Cigar Song”; “Yeah, I smoke ’em one by one!”
Photo credit: “Brad Paisley at Walmart Soundcheck,” by Lunchbox LP, Wikimedia Commons license CC BY 2.0