Sometimes I lead sometimes I follow
This time I'll go where she wants me to go
She said maybe today maybe tomorrow
Go deep in the woods down the low valley road

While no one was lookin' on the old plantation
He took her all the way down the long valley road
They sent her away not too much later
And left him walking down the old valley road
Walk on, walk on alone
Walk on, walk on, walk on alone

Out in the hall they were talking in a whisper
Everybody noticed she was gone awhile
Somebody said she's gone to her sister's
But everybody knew what they were talking about

While no one was lookin' on the old plantation
He showed her what they do down the long valley road
She came back around like nothing really happened
And left him standing on the old valley road
Walk on, walk on alone
Walk on, walk on, walk on alone

Standing like a stone on the old plantation
The rich old man would have never let him in
Good enough to hire not good enough to marry
When it all happens nobody wins
Walk on, walk on alone
Walk on, walk on, walk on alone


Lyrics submitted by radical347

Valley Road Lyrics as written by Jonathan Hornsby Bruce Hornsby

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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The Valley Road song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment

    There is nothing in the lyrics that suggests abortion or rape. I imagine a pretty young woman, daughter of the plantation owner, who falls for a handsome, charismatic employee far below her social station. She arranges to meet him "deep in the woods" along the valley road, and they go "all the way." But, although she returns as if "nothing really happened," everyone knows what's really going on, and, as is the case in All the Pretty Horses, her lover is "good enough to hire, not good enough to marry." Her father sends her away to force an end to the affair, and her love is left walking the Valley Road alone. Very sad.

    warp102567on April 02, 2014   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    i always interpreted this song as a rich southern teenage girl becoming pregnant by a poor southern nobody guy. When "somebody said she'd gone to her sister's" she had really been sent to a home for unwed mothers. when a pregnant girl was sent to live with a relative she was often sent to one of these homes. she would give birth, adopt the baby out and return "like nothing really happened". i don't really hear anything about abortion, as many have said before. but i could be, and most likely are, wrong.

    bigmclargehugeon October 19, 2016   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning

    The song is about a plantation owner’s daughter getting pregnant by one of the field hands. Then she goes away to have the baby and returns. If she’d had an abortion she wouldn’t have been “gone awhile”.

    michele112on November 17, 2021   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I was told this song is about a guy who was hired by a rich man on his plantation, he met the man's daughter, they bump uglies, she gets pregnant, she gets sent away, she has an abortion, the hired hand wants to marry the girl but the rich man won't let him.

    meganrm85on August 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My Opinion

    Agree with bigmclargehuge where it is more likely (would be more realistic to how it would be handled in the south in those times) she was sent away to a house for pregnant unwed mothers, and the baby would be put up for adoption (hence, gone for a while, maybe meaning 6-7 months or so after realizing and the pregnancy showing).

    pajamamanon November 26, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Hornsby was quoted in an interview with the Chicago Tribune saying that the song was inspired by observations he made growing up in the Commonwealth of Virginia. "Every year, some rich girl would get involved with some country guy, and they would act irresponsibly and have to deal with the ramifications."[2] When asked why many of his band\'s songs dealt with socio-political issues, Hornsby replied that "there are some issues that we feel are important, so we write about them... we also like to tell a story, like in "The Valley Road", or paint a picture."[2]

    FOALOAYon December 21, 2021   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I was told that this song tells the story of a young, rape victim who is too ashamed to tell anyone the truth of what happened. The girl in the song is described coming back around "like nothing really happened", and with the line "good enough to hire not good enough to marry", which, to me, indicates some sort of unwanted, sexual encounter. This is supported by the fact that the people described in the song inhabit the south (old plantation), which tells me that any discussion of an inappropriate sexual encounter would be a shameful burden or a taboo on a young girl. Truly a beautiful, thoughtful and deep song by one of the greats of our time. The second best Bruce in music, after his royal Bossness (Bruce Springsteen, of course).

    hoagiejon January 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The video really captures the subject matter ????

    mitch10052on March 05, 2022   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    Wow, no comments. I think it is about inter-racial relationships.

    yrogerg1on August 27, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    I also read it was about abortion. I agree with meganrm85.

    roushsn95on March 03, 2009   Link

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