Songs about Moonshine, Moonshiners & Moonshining: Lyrics Reflect Conflicting Attitudes

Songs about moonshine, moonshiners and moonshining express widely differing views. They both influence and reflect our conflicted attitudes and beliefs about the subject. We can see this in song about moonshine lyrics.

These songs about moonshine are in three groups. They are (1) Making Moonshine, (2) Running Moonshine, and (3) Drinking Moonshine.


          1. Making Moonshine
          2. Running Moonshine
          3. Drinking Moonshine
          4. More Songs about Moonshine

1. Making Moonshinesongs about moonshine

“Copper Kettle”suggests the benefits, even pleasures, of moonshining. Its lyrics includes these lines.

Get you a copper kettle
Get you a copper coil.
Cover with new made corn mash
And never more you’ll toil.


You just lay there by the juniper
While the moon is bright.
Watch them jugs a-fillin
In the pale moonlight.

But others paint a very different picture.  “Daddy’s Moonshine Still”paints bitterness.

Daddy’s moonshine still was good for nothin’
But to break mama’s heart.
And to tear our home apart
Make our lives a livin’ hell.

My bootlegging daddy was known quite well
And he made our home a livin’ hell.
And I ain’t forgot it and I know that I never will
My mama finally died she just gave up.
And daddy finally died from drinkin’ that stuff.
And bad memories haunt the rest of us
From daddy’s moonshine still.

And also “Tear My Stillhouse Down” tells a sad story.

Put no stone at my head, no flowers on my tomb.
No gold plated sign in a marble pillared room.
The one thing I want when they lay me in the ground
When I die, tear my still house down.


Oh, tear my stillhouse down, let it go to rust.
Don’t leave no trace of the hiding place
Where I made that evil stuff.
For all my time and money, no profit did I see.
That old copper kettle was the death of me.

That old copper kettle was the death of me.

2. Running Moonshinesongs about moonshine

“Bootlegger’s Son” tells of poor John, whose sad fate was that of a bootlegger’s son. The Ballad of Thunder Road  tells a tragic story. These are some of its lyrics.

Let me tell the story, I can tell it all
About the mountain boy who ran illegal alcohol.
His daddy made the whiskey, son he drove the load.
When his engine roared, they called the highway Thunder Road.


On the First of April, nineteen fifty-four
A Federal man sent word he’d better make his run no more.
He said 200 agents were coverin’ the state.
Which ever road he’d tried to take, they did ensure his fate.

Son, his daddy told him, Make this run your last.
The Tank is filled with hundred proof.
You’re all tuned up and gassed.

Now don’t take any chances if you can’t get through.
I’d rather have you back again, than all that mountain dew.


Blazin’ right through Knoxville out on Kingston Pike
Then right outside of Bearden, where they made that fatal strike.
He left the road at ninety that’s all there is to say.
The devil got the moonshine and the Mountain boy that day.

And there was thunder, thunder over Thunder Road.
Thunder was his engine white, lightning was his load
And there was moonshine, moonshine, to quench the devil’s thirst.
The Law, they never got him, ’cause the devil got him first.
Law, they never got him, ’cause the devil got him first.
(thunder thunder thunder road)

3. Drinking Moonshine

“Mountain Dew” is probably the most popular of all the songs about moonshine. It humorously extolls the virtues of moonshine. Included are these lyrics.

songs about moonshine
Grandpa Jones often sang songs about moonshine. One of his favorites was “Mountain Dew.”

My aunt Lucille had an automobile,
It ran on a gallon or two.
It didn’t need no gas and it didn’t need no oil,
Just ran on that good old mountain dew.

Chorus:  They call it that good old mountan dew,
And them that refuse it are few.
I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
With that good old mountain dew.

My uncle Mort, he is sawed off and short,
He measure ’bout four foot two.
But he thinks he’s a giant when you give him a pint
Of that good old mountain dew.

Repeat chorus

Old Auntie June had a brand new perfume,
It had such a wonderful “pew.”
But to her surprise, when she had it analyzed,
It was nothing but that good old mountain dew.

Repeat chorus

I know a guy named Pete, his hair ain’t so neat,
Though he fixes it with syrup and blue.
But it stays right in place when he uses just a trace
Of that good old mountain dew.

Repeat chorus

The preacher-he walked by, with a big tear in his eye
Said that his wife had the flu.
And hadn’t I ought just to give him a quart
Of that good old mountain dew.

Repeat chorus


Chug-a-lug” praises the pleasures of drinking home brew and moonshine.  “Apple Pie Moonshine” connects moonshine and young love.

Well I apologized when I picked her up.
Said this old truck is just a fixer up.
She smiled and said hey that’s ok just a couple letters missing from the Chevrolet.
I pulled out of her country club neighborhood.

She was over there looking so damn good
And I was feeling every bit of my side of the tracks.
But she took care of that when she pulled out that moon shine.
Tasted like an apple pie. We were wishing and kissing and sipping that stuff.
Sho’ nuff messing me up
Till I couldn’t tell the moonlight from the stars in her eyes

I never felt so fine caught up in a good time between her
and that apple pie moonshine well we were dancing around in the high beams
her hands in the back pockets of my jeans the radio playing the perfect song.

I still think about her every time the thing comes on
And I never forget that first kiss
When a country boy got to hold a real princess I can still taste the cinnamon on her lips.
Every time I reminisce

Its sweeter than moonshine tasting like an apple pie.
We were wishing and kissing and sipping that stuff.
Sho’ nuff messing me up
Till I couldn’t tell the moonlight from the stars in her eyes.

I never felt so fine caught up in a good time between her and that apple pie moonshine yeah.
I couldn’t tell the moonlight from the stars in her eyes I never felt so fine.
Caught up in a good time between her and that apple pie moonshine.
Apple pie moonshine.

Downside to Abuse

But drinking too much can lead to hallucinations. That’s related in  “God’s Own Drunk.” It’s the humorous tale of a teetotaler who drank too much moonshine. He had promised to watch a still one night. He was trying the product, which he continued drinking. There then appeared an enormous bear.

I said “Mr. Bear, You know in the eyes of the Lord
we’re both beasts when it comes right down to it.

So I want you to be my buddy, Buddy bear.”
So I took ole’ buddy bear by his island size paw
and I led him over to the still.
He’s a sniffin’ around that thing cause
he’s smellin’ somethin’ good.
I gave him one of them jugs of honey dew vine water.
He downed it up right
Looked like one of them damn bears in the circus

Sippin’ sasparilly in the moonlight.
I gave him another’n an another’n an another’n.
For I knew it he downed eight of them
and commenced to doin’ the bear dance.
Two snips, a snort, a fly turn, and a grunt.
It was so simple like the jitter bug
It plum evaded me.

We worked ourselves into a tumultuous uproar.
And I was awful tired and went over to the hillside
and I laid down and went to sleep.
Slept for four hours and dreampt me some tremulous dreams.
When I woke up, there was God’s yeller moon
shinin’ on the clear cool evenin’.

And, surprise. The bear disappeared!

4. More Songs about Moonshine, Moonshiners and Moonshining  

More lyrics of songs about moonshine.songs about moonshine

“Bootlegger’s Advice” The bootlegger said that “Vices are the spice of my life.”)

“Copperhead Road” Tale of going from a family tradition of moonshining to growing marijuana.)

“Kentucky Bootlegger”Reflects ambivalence about effects of drinking.)

“Moonshine Boulevard” (Sad story of a moonshiner’s life.)

“Moonshine in the Trunk” Lyrics subject to varying interpretations

“Moonshiner” (Another sad tale of a moonshiner’s empty life.)

“Rocky Top” (This is one of the most popular songs about moonshine. It’s also a Tennessee state song.)

“Virginia Bootlegger” (Simple lyrics about a bootlegger.)

“White Lightnin'” (George Jones helped make this one of the top songs about moonshine.)

Many of these songs about moonshine are on the internet.


All lyrics belong to the copyright owners. They’re here solely for educational and completely personal use.

Do you know of songs about moonshine, moonshiners, or moonshining that should be added? If so, please contact hansondj [at sign] potsdam [dot] edu/. And thank you for your help!