Copperhead Road

copperCopperhead Road was released in the late 1980s by Steve Earle, a singer/songwriter whose music didn’t fit into any defined genre at the time. He couldn’t be pegged as rock, nor country. He was a man who traveled to the beat of his own drum, and I followed right along behind, soaking up every piece of music he produced.

Not long after a string of hits, Steve was sentenced to prison, (I don’t remember what for, but am sure it was drug related.) and when he was released a few years later, his music was never the same again. I’m not saying his music morphed into something bad; just that I no longer enjoyed it.

Copperhead Road–according to the internet–is a real road in Tennessee, (known there as Copperhead Hollow Road) a place where moonshine was made, then a couple of generations later, returning Vietnam War vets grew marijuana.

It tells an interesting story. Won’t you please give it a listen?

(Lyrics follow the video.)

Copperhead Road (Steve Earle)

Well my name’s John Lee Pettimore
Same as my daddy and his daddy before
You hardly ever saw Grandaddy down here
He only came to town about twice a year
He’d buy a hundred pounds of yeast and some copper line
Everybody knew that he made moonshine
Now the revenue man wanted Grandaddy bad
He headed up the holler with everything he had
It’s before my time but I’ve been told
He never came back from Copperhead Road

Now Daddy ran the whiskey in a big block Dodge
Bought it at an auction at the Mason’s Lodge
Johnson County Sheriff painted on the side
Just shot a coat of primer then he looked inside
Well him and my uncle tore that engine down
I still remember that rumblin’ sound
Well the sheriff came around in the middle of the night
Heard mama cryin’, knew something wasn’t right
He was headed down to Knoxville with the weekly load
You could smell the whiskey burnin’ down Copperhead Road

I volunteered for the Army on my birthday
They draft the white trash first,’round here anyway
I done two tours of duty in Vietnam
And I came home with a brand new plan
I take the seed from Colombia and Mexico
I plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road
Well the D.E.A.’s got a chopper in the air
I wake up screaming like I’m back over there
I learned a thing or two from ol’ Charlie don’t you know
You better stay away from Copperhead Road

Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road

6 thoughts on “Copperhead Road

  1. Hi Cathy.

    When this song was released and I first heard it,
    I was absolutely blown away.

    The lyrics are fantastic and I just love Steve Earle’s accent.
    Have always enjoyed the video, the band has such energy.

    Never knew Steve Earle went to prison.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, he did jail time, seems like he assaulted a police officer while high. I have the CD, The Essential Steve Earle, it has all his old hits on it. And he not only sings, he writes his own songs.
      Yes, that accent, pure country. He hails from Texas. We in Arkansas have that same accent, especially those raised in the country, like I was. lol

      Liked by 1 person

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