We Don't Grow Tobacco

Album: Carry Me Back (2012)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song puts to use the African-American string-band talents that Ketch Secor picked up from the great fiddler Joe Thompson, who also mentored the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The song discusses harsh working conditions faced by migrant farm workers, but turns audience expectations on their head when it then discusses the harsher reality of the worker's lives that results from the tobacco industry collapsing.

    "I'm a utilitarian," Ketch Secor said in Paste. "I want to see America work. I don't necessarily want to see smokestacks blowing soot, but I don't want those fields where North Carolina and Virginia meet to lie fallow either. We don't want to be itinerant wanderers on the chain gang or the railroad, but what if it's better than what we did before and better than what we're doing now? There are no easy answers."
  • Old Crow Medicine Show members have actually farmed tobacco as a way to give their music authenticity. "To write a song like that you have to spend a little time in those fields," Ketch Secor said. "We did, and we were informed by that experience. The whole band worked one summer, $5 an hour, bringing in some of the last tobacco on the backside of Beech Mountain. Sure, we were growing something poisonous, but we got some good songs out of it, just as Dock Boggs and Merle Travis got some good songs out of the coal mines."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Annie Haslam of Renaissance

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceSongwriter Interviews

The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.

Danny Kortchmar

Danny KortchmarSongwriter Interviews

Danny played guitar on Sweet Baby James, Tapestry, and Running On Empty. He also co-wrote many hit songs, including "Dirty Laundry," "Sunset Grill" and "Tender Is The Night."

Lou Gramm - "Waiting For A Girl Like You"

Lou Gramm - "Waiting For A Girl Like You"They're Playing My Song

Gramm co-wrote this gorgeous ballad and delivered an inspired vocal, but the song was the beginning of the end of his time with Foreigner.

Richie McDonald of Lonestar

Richie McDonald of LonestarSongwriter Interviews

Richie talks about the impact of "Amazed," and how his 4-year-old son inspired another Lonestar hit.

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?Fact or Fiction

Bradley Cooper, Michael J. Fox, Rami Malek, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow and George Clooney: Which actors really sang in their movies?