Murder in the Red Barn

Album: Bone Machine (1992)

Songfacts®:

  • Waits said in a 1999 interview with Mojo magazine that his favorite line in this song is, "There's always some killing you gotta do around the farm."
  • This song was written after Waits moved into the country for the first time in his recording career.
  • In the first verse, the phrase "Pin it on a drifter" refers to charging a homeless person with the crime, possibly to avoid investigating the murder further. Could hint at small-town police laziness or corruption.
  • There are several lines in the song that suggest the locals think of murder as somewhat natural, almost seasonal: "Road kill has its seasons/Just like anything," "Is that blood on the tree/Or is that Autumn's red blaze?"

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