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The Story Behind Dust on the Bottle by David Lee Murphy

The Story Behind Dust on the Bottle by David Lee Murphy

Dust on the Bottle is a well-known country tune of the 90s that still gets the crowd going.

It’s classic and catchy. It’s great country music. But what’s the story behind Dust on the Bottle?

We dusted off our favorite 90s mixtapes to get to the heart of one of our favorite songs.

Let’s jump in!

Who Originally Wrote Dust on the Bottle?

Dust on the Bottle was written and released by David Lee Murphy in 1994. Murphy is an American country singer best known for his music of the 1990s. But Murphy’s musical career extends far beyond that decade.

Heavily influenced by southern rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top, Murphy picked up the guitar in his teens. He moved to Nashville in 1983, at age 24, to pursue his dream as a country music singer. After constant snubs from record labels, Murphy began songwriting for established artists like Reba McEntire and Doug Stone.

Murphy never gave up, though. He played out in local clubs with his band, The Blue Tick Hounds.

Persistence paid off, and Murphy signed to major label MCA Nashville in 1994. His debut record, Out With a Bang, was the best-selling album in 1995 for new country male artists. 

With three hit singles, including Dust on the Bottle, and a new legion of fans, Murphy followed up with his chart-busting second album in 1996. Gettin’ Out The Good Stuff had five top singles and set Murphy up as a 90s gold standard.

Murphy pivoted back to songwriting between his third and fourth albums. He wrote songs for country artists such as Brooks & Dunn, Hank Williams Jr, and Keith Anderson. The writing opportunities kept coming and suited Murphy well.

The life of summer concerts and writing for fellow country stars have left Murphy with a feeling of living a blessed life.

Where Is David Lee Murphy Today?

David Lee Murphy and his wife live on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee. They have three sons.

Although Murphy has been happily busy with family life, he remains active in the music business. Murphy has continued playing a handful of gigs every year throughout the past decade. 

In 2015 Murphy started collaborating on an album with longtime friend and fellow musician Kenny Chesney. With help from producer Buddy Cannon, they recorded Murphy’s fifth album, No Zip Code, in 2018. 

The co-produced album received high marks in the country music community. The single Everything’s Gonna Be Alright reached #1 on the U.S. country charts.

Murphy and Chesney received an award for Everythings Gonna Be Alright at the 2018 CMA ceremony. In fact, their collaboration won Musical Event of The Year.

David Lee Murphy will be touring North and South Dakota in the Spring of 2022. He’s got a gig at the county fair in Flagstaff, Arizona, during the beginning of September. According to his website, you can contact him and request a show.

How Did David Lee Murphy Create Dust on the Bottle?

The music for Dust on the Bottle flowed out of Murphy’s hands faster than lighting. Murphy says he wrote the bulk of it sitting at his kitchen table, sipping coffee, in about fifteen minutes. He quickly played it on guitar over the phone for his producer Tony Brown.

With Brown feeling as excited about the demo as Murphy, they recorded it the next day in one take. Murphy didn’t even have everything hammered out yet. Leaving the song somewhat raw and untethered during the recording left room to show Murphy where it needed to go. And it soared.

But there’s a real-life story behind the lyrics to the song. The words talk about a man who’s going on a date and wants to impress his lady. He seeks the help of Creole Williams to get the perfect bottle of wine to make a good impression.

As it turns out, Creole Williams was a friend of his cousin. An older fellow and character in town, Creole Williams was known for making homemade wine. As soon as Murphy started writing the guitar riff, Williams came to mind. The story poured out of him as quickly as the rest.

Dropped by one Friday night and said, "Can you help me, Creole?
Got a little girl waitin' on me and I want to treat her right.”

I got what you need son, it's sittin’ down in the cellar
He reached through the cobwebs as he turned on the light and said

There might be a little dust on the bottle
But don't let it fool ya about what's inside

There might be a little dust on the bottle
It's one of those things that gets sweeter with time

How Successful Was Dust on the Bottle?

Dust on the Bottle was the most successful single of David Lee Murphy’s career. The song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Country charts in 1995 and stayed there for a week. The song has since been certified Platinum and continues to receive accolades by fans and musicians alike.

Dust on the Bottle was streamed over 20 million times on Spotify in 2020. It’s a classic barroom sing-along amongst today’s college crowd.

Like Fine Wine

Dust on the Bottle is an iconic country tune that just gets better with time. According to, Murphy loves it so much he’s actually working on a remix. It’s also a favorite of country singers to cover live.

Do you remember the first time you heard Dust on the Bottle? Tell us in the comments!