"Decoration Day" as written by and Jason Isbell....
It's Decoration Day.
And I've a mind to roll a stone on his grave.
But what would he say.
Keeping me down, boy, won't keep me away.

It's Decoration Day.
And I knew the Hill Boys would put us away,
But my Daddy wasn't afraid.
He said we'll fight till the last Lawson's last living day

I never knew how it all got started
A problem with Holland before we were born
And I don't know the name of that boy we tied down
And beat till he just couldn't walk anymore.
But I know the caliber in daddy's chest
And I know what Holland Hill drives.
The state let him go, but I guess it was best
'Cause nobody needs all us Lawson's alive.

Daddy said one of the boys had come by
The lumber man's favorite son.
He said, beat him real good but don't dare let him die
And if you see Holland Hill run.
Now I said, they ain't give us trouble no more
That we ain't brought down on ourselves
But a chain on my back and my ear to the floor
And I'll send all the Hill Boys to hell.

It's Decoration Day
And I've got a family in Mobile Bay
And they've never seen my daddy's grave.
But that don't bother me, it ain't marked anyway.
'Cause I got dead brothers in Lauderdale south
And I got dead brothers in east Tennessee.
My Daddy got shot right in front of his house
He had no one to fall on but me.

It's Decoration Day
And I've got a mind to go spit on his grave.
If I was a hill, I'd have put him away
And I'd fight till the last Lawson's last living day.
I'd fight till the last Lawson's last living day.
I'd fight till the last Lawson's last living day.


Lyrics submitted by TonyRo2, edited by AlexSupertramp

"Decoration Day" as written by Jason Isbell

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Decoration Day song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentIsbell does such an amazing job of telling a whole complex story in just a short song. The ambivalence of the teller toward his father is palpable. Plus, killer guitar tones.
    jadyon August 07, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is a song about generational sin and family honor. The son clearly hates his dad for the feud, but he honors him none the less while all the others fled. Beautiful. The guitar coda after the verse takes this song to another level.
    Tedvion February 26, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOkay, my son and I have argued about this for years, but I am convinced that "Jason" Lawson, killed his own father. "My daddy got shot right in front of his house/He had no one to fall on but me" Why didn't he have anyone else to fall on? Because no one else was around! "Jason" killed his daddy knowing that it would be blamed on the Hills. His brothers are dead, now daddy is dead. "Jason" doesn't want to continue, so the feud can finally end. Just think what a great movie this would make!
    dratmilleron April 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBRILLIANT FUCKING SONG....Can't BELIEVE no one's commented on it. I just love....especially the guitars at the end. The way Isbell sings this one is perfect.
    Kate2121on February 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a great song. I think its meaning is pretty straight forward, but powerful.

    This song is about a son who is caught in a feud belonging to his father. He doesn't even know why he is fighting with the other family(Hill), its just something that has been going on since before he was even born.

    The father basically influences his children to take part in this feud, to the point of beating the boys in the other family(Hill boys).

    In the end the feud between these families brings nothing but the death of the Lawson father by the hands of the Hill boys), and his other sons(dead brother in Lauderdale south). In the end the son has nothing but resentment for his father, when he thinks about him, instead of celebrating his life, he would rather spit on his grave
    Orion510on March 06, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is probably one of my favorite songs by jason. Ive heard him play it live a few times and it is WAY better. My brother jimbo is his bassist in his new band the 400 Unit and ive met all of the guys and they're really cool. but this song is still really good. Too bad he left. But i guess in the end it was for the best.
    HoodedHippyon November 12, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is amazing.

    "he had no one to fall on but me"

    gives me chills.
    Colosimoon February 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPeople need to get the final line of the first verse right. It's not "Keeping me down boy won't keep ME away." It's "Keeping me down boy won't keep YOU away." The implication is that the son is destined to go after the Hills no matter what.
    prestonmoon November 01, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTake it a step further, and it is about teaching hate.
    sandpitlakeon July 31, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song gives me the chills every time I hear it
    themadhatter73on April 08, 2011   Link

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