"Long Ride Home" as written by and Patty Griffin....
Long black limousine
Shiniest car I've ever seen
The back seat is nice and clean
She rides as quiet as a dream
Someone dug a hole six long feet in the ground
I said goodbye to you and I threw my roses down
Ain't nothing left at all in the end of being proud
With me riding in a race car, and you flying through the clouds

I've had some time to think about you
And watch the sun sink like a stone
I've had some time to think about you
On the long ride home

One day I took your tiny hand
Put your finger in the wedding band
Your daddy gave a piece of land
We laid ourselves the best of plans
Forty years go by with someone laying in your bed
Forty years of things you wish you'd never said
How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead
I wonder as I stare up at the sky turning red

I've had some time to think about you
And watch the sun sink like a stone
I've had some time to think about you
On the long ride home

Headlights staring at the driveway
The house is dark as it can be
I go inside and all is silent
It seems as empty as the inside of me

I've had some time to think about you
And watch the sun sink like a stone
I've had some time to think about you
On the long, on the long
Oh the long, on the long
On the long ride home


Lyrics submitted by AmandaPanda345, edited by thereisanerror, wingnut422

"Long Ride Home" as written by

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Long Ride Home song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commenti can't believe no one has posted anything on this song.
    it's so great..
    so great. possibly, i thought talking about someone who's died and maybe regretting it.
    probably missing them, id think.

    so pretty.
    thumbs up, patty. :]
    ripxbeatzon May 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this is written from a guys perspective about his wife who's just died. Whatever it's about it one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, I love it to pieces.
    dark_maiden101on August 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is excellent on so many levels -- the music and lyrics have a simplicity and directness that reaches out and grabs you, pulling you in. At the same time, there's some subtlety in Patty's voice and the lyrics to give even more depth to this song.

    I agree with dark_maiden101 that this is from a guy's perspective about his wife's death, but it's indirect, which makes this song even better.

    The opening references about the car are the first hint. Most "car talk" comes from guys, and all the references about "Shiniest thing I've ever seen", "quiet as a dream", and "nice and clean" indicate a guy, IMHO.

    Then the lyric, "One day I took your tiny hand" only makes sense from a man's perspective. If anyone can interpret this as coming from a woman, please let me know.

    Finally, The lyrics literally tip-toe around the emotional reality of the situation, sticking to the facts almost exclusively. Notice that the lyric is "and *seems* as empty as the inside of me" rather than "and *feels* ...". This lyrical style sure seems to indicate a guy who just lost his wife, at least to me.

    It's Patty's voice that breaks through the shell of literal words to the feelings within of utter loss and devastation. *We* feel the emotional connection from the bittersweet juxtaposition of the understated lyrics and their resonant delivery.
    willow1ston December 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWas it a troubled marriage or is he just thinking about the fights they had gotten into? I think maybe he's thinking back to the arguments and to the silent treatement hat usually follows them and wishes he could have those moments back ...

    "Ain't nothing left at all in the end of being proud."

    "Forty years of things you say you wish you'd never said. How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead?"
    cubbyblueson July 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI get the impression that the couple lived on a farm (Daddy gave us a piece of land) and that the funeral of his wife may be the first time the man is in a limousine. An absolutely perfect, gut-wrenching song. The trio Red Molly does a terrific cover of this, by the way.
    Moose Jawon September 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Red Molly ruins it. Griffin's voice makes this song as much as the lyrics.
    cubbyblueson October 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI don't think I've ever heard anyone cover a Patty Griffin song better than she does herself.
    Johny108on August 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI actually perceived this to be from a women, primarily because of applying my own life experiences and experiences of those I know and love, but in all honesty I think it could come from either gender. I do believe that is about the loss of a spouse and the long ride home from the funeral- "Someone dug a hole six long feet in the ground, I said goodbye to you and I threw my roses down". The person who's point of view it is from is someone who has not had a lot of money in life, and therefore have not had many opportunities to ride in "shiny cars" (given a piece of land would imply that they were farmers, thus very little income). Also in the traumatic moment of losing someone you start to focus on other things as you're trying to cope and yet ignore your bereavement, thus the focus on the shiniest car they've ever seen, where the backseat is nice and clean. Time also stops in moments of devastation, and so it is a long ride home where he/she is thinking about the spouse that they lost.

    It sounds to me like it was actually for the most part an unpleasant marriage. We know they married because of "taking your tiny hand and placed your finger in a wedding band"- men can have tiny hands too :) and perhaps its really just talking about at the actual wedding when the wedding bands are exchanged- thus my belief it's from a woman's perspective initially. "Daddy gave a piece of land" is probably referencing the wedding dowry of land for farming. They had made themselves the best of plans at the beginning, but for the past 40 years he/she felt like they were sleeping next to a stranger "40 years go by with someone laying in your bed" and that the spouse was very harsh to them "40 years of things you say you wish you'd never said"- it all sounds to me like the living spouse went into the marriage with all these great plans and ideas of what marriage and a life with this person be like, and now that it's all over they're looking back and realizing that that person was never the person they thought they were at all. And are even questioning if they were intentionally degrading them with the comment of "things you say you wish you'd never said," if the living spouse really believed that the dead spouse felt bad for things they said then i think it would have been worded differently, but things you say imply that they weren't necessarily sincere in their admitting they wish they'd never said it. At any rate she's wondering why he/she couldn't have been nicer to them as they look at the sky turn red (implying they're becoming anger perhaps with the red reference?)

    Then once they get home after thinking over the past 40 years they come home to a house that is as empty as them, thus a realization that even if after 40 years of frustration and heartache they still have this empty feeling because at the end of it all, that person was their home, they were his/her life. They had dedicated so much of themselves and their time to this person that they are now "empty" without having them there. Perhaps a sense of buyer's remorse of sorts?? And still they probably are feeling like there was a reason to marry them in the first place, they did really love them for some reason. But what part of that person did they really love, and was that part still present the whole time. This last little bit is obviously me doting upon experiences from others, but things to think about none-the-less.

    Marriage is (or is supposed to be anyways) a life long commitment. It's saying to the other I am investing myself, my dreams, and my life in you and assuming that you are doing the same. That we will want the best for each other and try to make sure that we are both not just taken care of, but that we are happy and working towards the same thing. Once it becomes one-sided, once it becomes a case where someone is constantly giving while the other is just taking from the other, the giving partner becomes resentful. Unfortunately this is generally the person like the singer in the song who probably feels so invested and hopeful that things will go along with their initial "best plans" and keep waiting for something to turn around. In reality it would probably take time for the other spouse to realize and then change his/her actions for the giving and taking to balance out... or it may be time to admit that the other person isn't the same person you married... or not the person you thought you married at all. Things to ponder I suppose. Perfect reasons for really making sure you know the one you're marrying and what it is they want from life. Or at least being vocal when feeling like you're being taken advantage of before your spouse/friend/acquaintance thinks that it is normal to take advantage of you (and perhaps doesn't even realize they are taking advantage)

    Happy listening!
    lmac5on September 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPatty has a gift of getting inside people's life situations. There seems a similar sentiment in this to that in 'On Top of The World' of not really appreciating a relationship while it's there. On Top of The World also seems sung from the male perspective. Maybe these are from personal experience or maybe Patty just recognises that in many relationships men still dominate and are the emotionally unresponsive ones. it's like the character in the book by Albert Camus who kicks his dog every day but when the dog disappears he cries.


    The other comments on this are all either interesting about the song or spot on in remarking what a precious talent Patty Griffin is.
    NWNmoonon February 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song can be sung by either gender I don't think it has any contradictions that would kill it. But for me when Patty sings this song I think it's coming from her perspective which is why all the emotion is coming through, but that is only what works for me.

    I wouldn't say that this song is about a bad marriage, it could be, but i don't think that is the point. Either in a bad or even a great marriage there is room for mistakes and i think she is really touching on the epiphany that is being felt by realizing that "Ain't nothing left at all in the end of being proud", she basically feels really stupid for standing her ground on things just because of her pride in anything, an argument, a major family decisions, really anything. Thats why i think her Music is great she seems to try to leave it open for any situation pertaining to the raw emotions she is putting out in the songs.

    "Forty years of things you say you wish you'd never said
    How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead"

    This shows and supports the idea that she really just feels sad, lonely, and stupid for being like that(remember it could be anything she feels bad about cause she leaves it open), when she now realizes how short life is and how she can't take anything back and wished she knew what she knows now how she could have been better then she was.

    Thank You Patty, You give me chills.
    brussellron October 05, 2010   Link

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