Copperhead Road By Steve Earle

Copperhead Road

1988 | Country

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“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."


  • The song hit #7 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart as well as #56 on the Billboard 200.
  • Copperhead Road was an actual road near Mountain City, Tennessee although it has since been renamed as Copperhead Hollow Rd. due to theft of road signs bearing the song's name.
  • "Johnny Come Lately" was performed with The Pogues as the backing band.


Luke Tatum

Isn't it funny how a government agency can be literally responsible for an illicit drug epidemic, and at the same time the DEA exists to hunt down private citizens for providing essentially the same services? This song is a tale without much a moral. Perhaps, though, it's a cautionary tale: "Don't get caught."

Sherry Voluntary

I can't tell you how much I love this song, and it's not just that I live in Knoxville and have a sense of pride in those folks who flaunted the law and ran moonshine in this area. This song is so beautifully crafted to capture the defiant spirit that used to reside in this part of the country. Even the bagpipes used in this song pay homage to the Scotts and Irish that settled this region of Appalachia. They were rugged and defiant and, until the last 20 to 30 years, that spirit lived on in many of the people here. While I love the outlaw spirit of this song, I also have feelings of sadness for the loss of that mindset in so many of the people here now. It's a loss that has terrible consequences for the future.

Nicky P

"I think my favorite part of this song is:

"I learned a thing or two from Charlie don't you know.You better stay away from Copperhead Road."

The lyric is meant to reference the narrators time as a soldier in Vietnam. The lyric puts the DEA in the position of the oppressor and makes clear that oppressed people can fight author no matter which nation they call home. The song hits government over-reach from a few different angles including taxation and the drug war. The song makes a folk hero out of someone with nothing more than a skill set and an entrepreneurial dream. These practices still detrimentally affect poor neighborhoods and disproportionately ethnic neighborhoods across the country."

Created By
Nicky P