March 10.2015 – Story Behind “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner

Josh Turner Long Black Train

Josh Turner’s first hit, he debuted the song at the Grand Ole Opry in 2001, and released it as a single from his debut album, Long Black Train, two years later. It reached #13 on the Billboard Country charts and achieved gold status. When asked what his inspiration for the song was, Turner said he had envisioned a long, black train that was running down a track with people standing around watching it. It occurred to him that the train was a metaphor for temptation, with the engineer symbolizing Satan, and the train and whistle representing how we are always tempted to do evil, but we must resist. At the time, Turner was trying to discover who he was as an individual; he believes it’s a song God delivered to him.

This was inspired by the Hank Williams’ song “The Devil’s Train.” Josh Turner was asked by USA Weekend magazine (November 4, 2007) how he came up with this song: “It’s probably the most spiritual experience I’ve ever had writing a song. I’ve always been a fan of Hank Williams. I’ve been mystified by his life. Then a box set of his came out. I couldn’t afford to buy it at the time, so I’d just go over to the library. Late at night, I’d be in a cubbyhole there, just listening to his songs. I loved how his guitar would be a little out of tune, and sometimes he’d mess up on a song, and he’d just start over instead of recording over it. I’d walk out of the library with my mind racing with images of a train running in the middle of nowhere, with all of these people just standing, watching it go by and trying to contemplate whether to get on or not. I went to my bedroom, shut the door and just started strumming that rhythm and writing the verses. It never occurred to me that it would be a hit. I didn’t even have a record contract at the time.”

This won the award for Song of the Year at the 2004 Inspirational Country Music Awards.

Click here to buy the single
Lyrics:
There’s a long black train comin’ down the line,
Feeding off the souls that are lost and cryin’.
Rails of sin, only evil remains.
Watch out, brother, for that long black train.
Look to the heaven’s, you can look to the sky.
You can find redemption staring back into your eyes.
There is protection and there’s peace the same:
Burnin’ your ticket for that long black train.

‘Cause there’s victory in the Lord, I say.
Victory in the Lord.
Cling to the Father and his Holy name,
And don’t go ridin’ on that long black train.

There’s an engineer on that long black train,
Makin’ you wonder if the ride is worth the pain.
He’s just a-waitin’ on your heart to say:
“Let me ride on that long black train.”

But you know there’s victory in the Lord, I say.
Victory in the Lord.
Cling to the Father and his Holy name,
And don’t go ridin’ on that long black train.

Well, I can hear the whistle from a mile away.
It sounds so good but I must stay away.
That train is a beauty makin’ everybody stare,
But its only destination is the middle of nowhere.

But you know there’s victory in the Lord, I say.
Victory in the Lord.
Cling to the Father and his Holy name,
And don’t go ridin’ on that long black train.

I said cling to the Father and his Holy name,
And don’t go ridin’ on that long black train.

Yeah, watch out brother for that long black train.
That devil’s drivin’ that long black train.

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About Robynn

Robynn Jaymes has spent her whole life in radio… 30 years!! And almost half of them have been at Star Country. Originally from Cincinnati, Robynn came to the area as a Liberty University student. Along with all things country music, Robynn is a big fan of Football!—The Virginia Tech Hokies, The Washington Redskins and, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals. And also, “I’m addicted to the Weather Channel,” she says. Right now, Robynn is a big fan if the music coming from Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney! Robynn is also a winner of the Billboard Air Personality of the Year award. Hear all new Warm & Fuzzies with Robynn M-F at 11:45AM!