Steve Earle — Copperhead Road
Album: Copperhead Road
Avg rating:
7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1744
Ratings histogram:
Released: 1988
Length: 4:28
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Well my name's John Lee Pettimore
Same as my daddy and his daddy before
You hardly ever saw Grandaddy down here
He only come 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
Before my time but I've been told
He never come back from Copperhead Road

Grandaddy ran 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

When 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
I came home with a brand new plan
I'd take the seed from Colombia and Mexico
I just plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road

Now 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 Charlie, don't you know
You better stay away from Copperhead Road

Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road
Ha! Copperhead Road
Comments (388)add comment
Okay, that's just weird, when I heard the Julie Miller song I thought it reminded me of Steve Earle.  Coincidence?
visited a Viet-nam vet buddy of mine in upstate NY years ago, went hiking in the open mountain trails in a sunny brisk afternoon, toking away and lovin' mother nature when we heard the rattling from VERY CLOSE BY "fuck there on the boulder!" a timber rattler basking in the sunshine, thing was 3 feet high on that rock and looking us over, damn brother RUN!!!

Crotalus horridus (1).jpg
I remember walking into Tower Records in D.C. in 1988 and they were playing this - first time I heard it.

Was in the same area this weekend to see King Crimson and that TR is now a CVS.
 MassivRuss wrote:
Worse with every play. Bill whiffed on this one...
 
Definitely not something that improves with age.
 MassivRuss wrote:
Worse with every play. Bill whiffed on this one...

 
Let's play this one more often, Bill!  Gruff, rough, tough Steve Earle kicks ass.  The effete need not appreciate.
 MassivRuss wrote:
Worse with every play. Bill whiffed on this one...

 
Completely disagree.  I love Steve Earle's story telling and simple yet catchy tunes.
Worse with every play. Bill whiffed on this one...
 Shotoverplain wrote:
Yet more boring / tiresome Americana ( country & western)  oh dear 

 
That's 'MURICANA to you, son!!!


Nifty pivot from Loreena McKennit's "The Highwayman"... Jus' rouna corner, an issa whole 'nuther whirl!
 MundieWest wrote:
Recorded at the best studio around: Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN

 
Where the ghosts of Big Star are still lurking..
 haresfur wrote:
Reminds me of a friend's hour-long tale about his uncle and cousins reworking the family whiskey business into an, um, higher growth venture.

Bottom line: trying to take out a hit on the Sheriff isn't a great idea. 

 

Kid I went to high school with in those parts grandfather was a Sheriff and was killed in a shootout in the mountains.  If my memory serves me correctly it was over Shine.


Recorded at the best studio around: Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN
I grew up in these parts.  Neighbor married a gal from Mountain City where CopperHead road is. 

 They had to rename the road cause people kept stealing the sign.

Headed to Knoxville tomorrow to see the kin. rrrHAAAAAAAAAAA! 
He still plays around Austin from time to time.
I think about the other side, and I think about rock&roll.
Reminds me of a friend's hour-long tale about his uncle and cousins reworking the family whiskey business into an, um, higher growth venture.

Bottom line: trying to take out a hit on the Sheriff isn't a great idea. 
Sometimes we don't realize how good a tune is until we hear it on RP. {#Cheers}
Outstanding. What a rockin' song and reminiscent of my favorite era {#Guitarist}
It's a cool video, too.
I've always lived in cities or suburbs.  This song always took me back to my dad's and granddad's world. Musically  I mean.  I love it. If you don't love it, that's fine, just go back home once in awhile...
Put it up there with American Pie and deal with it !
Yet more boring / tiresome Americana ( country & western)  oh dear 
                                                        Lucky ç
Charlie taught me about Copperhead, and pettimore did the same for the road ahead
                   Whoever took my Balinese figures please return.
I like the Scottish/Irish influence. It resonates with the Appalachian mountain folks and brings a real air of truth to the story being told, rugged  people surviving in tough times.
Pure genius. One of those iconic songs that encompass so much emotion and meaning... the story of an era, of an area.
Think Faulkner, Ron Rash, Cormac McCarthy.... (I'm sitting in a bar in Knoxville as I write this- a bar called Sutree's High Gravity.)
And Earl at this point in his trajectory, had the seething passion of a young Brando. An easy nine.
Steve Earl
Recorded at the great Ardent Studios.

Headed down to Knoxville with the weekly load?
 ckcotton wrote:
Gets more annoying every time I hear it
 

 
Deja Vu
Can't hit PSD fast enough.
 ppopp wrote:
I feel like I need a mullet, a beat-up old truck, and a large tub of mayo called Mary-lou on the passenger seat to enjoy this song.

 
No, not really, but you might think so if you're from Portland.
I feel like I need a mullet, a beat-up old truck, and a large tub of mayo called Mary-lou on the passenger seat to enjoy this song.
 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:
Nottingham Hillbillies?

 
You probably know this already, but just in case -

The Notting Hillbillies - was a country rock project formed by Steve Phillips and Brendan Croker with Mark Knopfler, who was then lead guitarist and singer of Dire Straits, and Knopfler's bandmate Guy Fletcher. 1986  Wikipedia

The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event that since 1966 has taken place on the streets of Notting Hill, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, each August over two days. Thats the nearest we get to Mardi Gras over here.

I've always thought Copper Head Road was a great piece of musical story telling - as joempie wrote:
reads like a nice script for a movie :)

Yea! why not? i'd watch it (reminds me of 'Convoy' - C.W. McCall, now theres a chunk of history, & Copper Head Road is a much 'better' story)

Gets more annoying every time I hear it
 
 Krispian wrote:
Recently saw Steve Earle play this at the Vancouver Folk Festival. I was prepared to dismiss this song because it is so commercial, but when he played it live, I found it was very powerful and moving.
 
"Powerful and moving" That it is, and genre transcending as well. So much insightful historical and cultural perspective distilled into just a few lines.
 joempie wrote:
reads like a nice script for a movie :)

 
John Lee Pettimore fanfic
reads like a nice script for a movie :)
Steve Earl cracks me up, I love his weekly show on XM Radio and I also love the way he swears that Townes Van Zandt is a better songwriter than Bob Dylan.
 howton52 wrote:

My all-time favorite !!

and on the rare occasion that I see the bars,  I saw a bunch of Army guys line dancing to it.

Whoooo Ahh !!



 
One of my bands recently did this number and we got the folks out of their chairs......dancing like a bunch of rednecks!!!!

I loved it.


I've seen this done live and the band rips it. I always wait for the line about the rumbling sound and accompanying bass line.
How about Stephen Stills "Treetop Flyer" next?  Then maybe Little Feat "Willin".
Did somebody say Triple Segue? Get your drink on people!!!
 
Sounds like a song from the Raphaels
"They draft the white trash first around here anyway."

Something I observed first hand back in the bad old days of the early 70s. 
Jim Tom!!!
 
 rdo wrote:
According the Wiki, SE did not serve in Vietnam, no mention of service.
 
The song is a narrative by John Lee Pettimore.  Wiki gives a few details:)
I gave trying to find the name of genre of 80% of the songs played here.... This one is a mix of several things ( folk ? rock ? country ? ) and I wouldn't know where to look for that in a music store... 
 xtalman wrote:
I think this is more folk/roots then "country".

 
Y'Alternative.

It's like the label the Beach Boys got stuck with.
Some of their best stuff wasn't "Surf Music".
Unfortunately, that's all people think of when their name get's mentioned.
fredriley wrote:
This one's growing on me. It may be "redneck" (not a species to be found this side of the pond) but it tells an instructive story. 7 from the Nottingham jury.

Nottingham Hillbillies?
Sounds very generic