I am not a big bluegrass music fan so a great deal of it related to the Civil War goes unnoticed by me. Luckily, I have readers who are kind enough to email me with references to the Civil War that they have come across. This post is the result of just such an email from a reader in Toronto. The song tells the story of slaves escaping to the Union lines to join the army. It was written and performed by The Steeldrivers. Enjoy.
The lyrics can be found below.
“Can You Run?”
There’s smoke down by the river Hear the cannon and the drum I’ve got one thing to ask you honey Can you run?
You know I hate to ask so late But the moment’s finally come And there won’t be time to change your mind Can you run?
(chorus) Can you run, to the freedom line of the Lincoln soldiers? Where the contraband can be a man With a musket on his shoulder I’ve got to stand up tall before I’m done Wrap these hands of mine around a gun And chase the taste of bondage from my tongue Can you run? Can you run?
I’m takin nothin with me We’ve just got time to beat the sun And the boys in gray are never far away Can you run?
There’s smoke down by the river Hear the cannon and the drum And even if I die, I’ve got to try Can you run?