Thunder Road

Story Behind The Song

From the movie with Robert Mitchun...cover also the results of the chase by federal agents NAS car races was born

Song Description

Tennessee moonshiner on the run

Song Length 3:29 Genre Folk - Country


Ballad Of Thunder Road

Let me tell the story, I can tell it all
about the mountainboy who ran illigeal alcohol
his daddy made the whiskey, son, he drove the load
and when his engine roard, the called the highway Thonder Road

Sometimes into Ashville, sometimes Memphis town
the revenoors chased him but they coudn't run him down
each time they thought they had him his engine would explode
and he'd go by like they were standin' still on Thunder Road

And there was thunder, thunder over Thunder Road
Thunder was his engine. And white lighting was his load
there was moonshine, moonshine to quench the devil's thrist
the law they swore they'd get him, but the devil got him first.

On the first of April, 1954
a Federal man sent word he better make his run no more
he said 200 agents were coverin' the state
whichever road he tried to take, they get him sure as fate

Son, his daddy told him, make this run your last
the tank is filled with 100-proof, your all tuned up and gassed
now don't take any chances, if you can't get through
I'd rather have you back again then all that mountain dew.


Roarin' out of Harlan, evvin' up his mill
he shot the gap at Cumberland, and screamed by Maynordsville
with T-men on his tailights, roadblocks up ahead
the mountain boy took roads that even angels feared to tred

Blazing right through Knoxville, out on Kingston Pike
then right outside of Bearden, they made their fatal strike.
He left the road at 90; that's all there is to say.
The devil got the moonshine and the mountain boy that day.


More bluegrass kind of song.
Should be in that genre

Bright if tragic tale of a mountain boy who runs illicit whiskey. A good, solid ballad, well constructed and performed.

Very witty, pleasant and unique story piece with very appropriate arrangement and instrumentation. Takes me back to some of the great folk singers from long ago, such as Joan Baez.

Lovely clear fingerpicking
Lovely melody and a good storyline

Folksy, beautifully rendered version of a folk song about moonshine and the man who made it. Lovely vocals, beautiful guitar grace this simple presentation of an unforgettable story.

Beautiful voice and cool sounding rhythm guitar picking - sounds a little like Joan Biaz.

Fingerpicking is excellent and the recording levels are on point. Love the slight reverb on the voice, gives it a very ethereal feel. I love the melody and chord progression, has a very traditional feel without being derivative. Had a little trouble distinguishing the lyrics at certain points.

Ah I remember Robert Michum, quite a different version here, a nice haunting feel to this one.

Lyrics Robert Mitchen/Jack Marshal Music Jack Marshal
Producer Joe Podlesny Publisher Joe Podlesny
Performance Delta burnett reed/music arranger Joe Podlesny Label Avocet studio
This track is on 3 Member Playlists
Playlist Creator Playlist Name Date Added
Dallas Marshall My Top Songs 7/7/2017
Ionut Mirel Udrea Best of the best 1/5/2015
Diana Rasmussen Fun Songs 7/3/2013
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