"Copperhead Road" as written by and 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 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
'Fore my time but I've been told
He never come back from Copperhead Road

Now Daddy 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 take the seed from Columbia and Mexico
I just plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road
And 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
Copperhead Road

Lyrics submitted by shauncreaney, edited by MacHudde

"Copperhead Road" as written by Steve Earle

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Copperhead Road song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationI'm surprised someone hasn't already brought it up, but the song title may have a direct correlation with growing marijuana in that region of the country. When talking about booby trapping the fields, "I learned a thing or two from Charlie don't yah know", I think it's worth noting copperheads were used by paranoid growers who thought they might be robbed as their plants were budding. The technique was described to me, not in the context of the song, but by someone who lived and farmed** in the area in the late 70's/early 80's. I can't say for certain, but tend to believe this person when they told me how they used to round up copperheads two weeks before harvesting, secure the tails of the snakes to the stalks of the plants with fishing line, so if anyone tried to rob them in the "middle of the night," they would be bitten by an ornery snake with a fishing hook in it's tail. Anyway, that's how I've always interpreted the meaning. "You better stay away from copperhead road," rephrased; You better not be in my fields chopping off buds in the middle of the night. Maybe the DEA symbolizes anything/anyone that threatens a grower's operation?
    KFCeedson May 04, 2010   Link

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