"Barton Hollow" as written by Joy Williams and John White....
I'm a dead man walking here
But that's the least of all my fears
Ooh, underneath the water

It's not Alabama clay
That gives my trembling hands away
Please forgive me father

Ain't going back to Barton Hollow
Devil gonna follow me e'er I go
Won't do me no good washing in the river
Can't no preacher man save my soul

Did that full moon force my hand?
Or that unmarked hundred grand?
Ooh, underneath the water
Please forgive me father

Miles and miles in my bare feet
Still can't lay me down to sleep
If I die before I wake
I know the Lord my soul won't take

I'm a dead man walking
I'm a dead man walking

Keep walking and running and running for miles
Keep walking and running and running for miles
Keep walking and running and running for miles

Ain't going back to Barton Hollow
Devil gonna follow me e'er I go
Won't do me no good washing in the river
Can't no preacher man save my soul


Lyrics submitted by crashmmvii

"Barton Hollow" as written by John Paul White Joy Elizabeth Williams

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Barton Hollow song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +7
    Song MeaningIn the lyric "It's not Alabama clay / That gives my trembling hands away"
    I think he means there's literal blood on his hands. If you look up images of "Alabama clay," you'll see that the clay is a rusty red color that might be mistaken for blood, or vice versa.

    Also, when he says "I'm a dead man walking here / but that's the least of all my fears" I think he's saying that the law calls for his death, but while he's not afraid of dying, he's afraid of going to hell.
    RoslynBlackon July 04, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI'm a dead man walking here - he killed someone and he may as well be dead according to the law
    But that's the least of all my fears - he doesn't care about the law
    Ooh, underneath the water - the proof of what he did is underneath the water

    It's not Alabama clay - ? hmmm... maybe the water talked about above is in Alabama somewhere?
    That gives my trembling hands away - he's not scared because of that
    Please forgive me father - he wants god to forgive him

    Ain't going back to Barton Hollow - they're never going back to Barton Hollow, which may be where they killed
    Devil gonna follow me e'er I go - pretty much explains itself
    Won't do me no good washing in the river - cleansing themselves of evil now wont do them anygood now?
    Can't no preacher man save my soul - no preacher can save them from hell

    Did that full moon force my hand? - they wonder what caused them to kill
    Or that un marked hundred grand? - maybe they killed for money
    Ooh, underneath the water - underneath the water is the evidence
    Please forgive me father - wants god to forgive hthem

    Miles and miles in my bare feet - they run from the cops miles and miles
    Still can't lay me down to sleep - no matter how exhausted they are the guilt wont let them sleep
    If I die before I wake
    I know the Lord my soul won't take - if they die they know they are going to hell

    I'm a dead man walking - hes doomed
    I'm a dead man walking

    Keep walking and running and running for miles - they run from the cops
    Keep walking and running and running for miles
    Keep walking and running and running for miles

    Ain't going back to Barton Hollow - same as above
    Devil gonna follow me e'er I go
    Won't do me no good washing in the river
    Can't no preacher man save my soul

    thats the literal interpretation. but figuratively they did somethin bad and are running from their guilt but it keeps finding them and they dont think they are going to be forgiven, and then go to hell.
    jarshikahon April 18, 2011   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI think that is all to literal. I think the song is about having sins or guilts that are impossible to carry. You can't go back and fix them, and no matter how far you set yourself from them they still keep you awake at night. You're just left with this heavy burden. There is no forgiveness and you feel as even God himself wouldn't forgive you so, you are nothing more than a dead man/woman walking.
    aafrazier82on June 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOMG!!! I LOVE THIS SONG! AMAZING LYRICS, MUSIC, AND OVERALL FEEL TO THIS SONG! WOW!
    megallion October 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe SIN could be anything (individual or human sin) and I think "underneath the water", "won't do me no good washing in the river" refer to Baptism ...
    and Great Song
    Peymanon November 04, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIf you watch the music video, it shows someone digging into the ground with a shovel. And with the lyrics of the music, it’s possible that those spots are graves. So maybe they’re digging in graves, looking for belongings such as clothes and such because they can’t afford to buy this stuff? So, he would hypothetically be “a dead man walking”, because he is wearing and keeping the belongings of a dead man.
    thecivilwarsrockon May 05, 2014   Link

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