What does Copperhead Road mean?

Steve Earle: Copperhead Road Meaning

Album cover for Copperhead Road album cover

Song Released: 1988


Copperhead Road Lyrics

Well my name's John Lee Pettimore
Same as my daddy and his daddy before
You hardly ever saw Grandaddy down here
He only came to town about twice a year
He'd buy a hundred pounds of yeast and some copper line
Everybody knew that he made...

  1. anonymous
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    Oct 26th 2023 !⃝

    To start, his name is Conley pettimore not John Lee. And, he didn't wake up screaming he wigged out screaming. Other than that, his experience is much like that of a lot of us. He found out that his family was right to nullify the laws of the national government that go against the constitution and common sense.

  2. anonymous
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    Oct 5th 2022 !⃝

    this song is a hoot and a holler a true banger if you will. def would recommend listening to this devils right hand and just about any other song on this album.

  3. anonymous
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    Aug 20th 2021 !⃝

    I grew up in an environment like the main guy in the song.I didn't like the alcohol lifestyle and Marijuana was becoming very popular..I didn't grow it for money mainly , I grew it because I didn't like dealing with the people that sold it..
    The money helps though..

  4. Bobby
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    Aug 1st 2021 !⃝

    I enlisted in 1960 was released in 1964.I missed that part of life where you grow from a teen into adulthood. When I came 'home' everything had changed and I did not really fit. Met a couple of army buds and we rode/partied hard. That was my 'grow up' time. We all fall back into the old ways when we do not fit. Steve tells that story well. Now I am a grandpa trying to hang on to the new ways. Thanks Steve!

  5. Arrow
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    Feb 28th 2019 !⃝

    A well written song about the hypocrisy of the system and the law. This family played by the same rules without the law to back then up. There will always be an element that wants to fight back. That's why this song is so popular. Steve Earle is an excellent song writer.

  6. astorian
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    Jul 2nd 2017 !⃝

    This song tells the story of a redneck who grew up in a family of moonshiners and bootleggers. His father and his grandfather both ran a still and made liquor illegally in the woods near Copperhead Road. Family lore says that his grandfather killed and disposed of a government agent who tried to arrest him.

    In his own way, the narrator is carrying on the family tradition- but instead of making whiskey, he's growing marijuana in the woods where his daddy made moonshine. The narrator is an Army veteran who learned from the Viet Cong how to make deadly booby traps. So, any police who try to bust him may end up dead, just like the revenue agent who was tied to arrest his grandpa.


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