In her Songfacts interview
, Williams explained, "'Pappy' is about a man known as Pappy who had an incredible roadhouse in Pioneertown, California. He was genuine to everyone he met. I was fortunate to tour Europe with him with Giant Sand. When he died, I wrote that song about his wake, which was at that club, and it's all true... people came from all over to show their appreciation for him. Even Eric Burdon played 'The House Of The Rising Sun
,' hence the musical saw reference at the end of the piece."