When creating the perfect Halloween playlist, country music probably isn’t the first genre that comes to mind. But, from a song about Hank William’s ghost to one about a Voodoo witch, this list of 5 country songs might prevent you from getting a full night of beauty sleep. Listen/read/watch at your own risk…(cue evil laughter)
1. “Midnight in Montgomery” (1992) – Alan Jackson
Written by Alan Jackson and Don Sampson, this song tells the story of a creepy encounter with Hank William’s ghost. Filled with imagery of a chilly and windy night, you can’t help but feel a slight urge to sleep with the lights on (and avoid Montgomery at all costs). The narrator questions whether the ghost “was ever really there” or just a figment of his imagination….I guess we’ll never know.
2. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (1979) – Charlie Daniels Band
Written and performed by the Charlie Daniels Band, this song recounts a fiddling contest between a boy named Johnny and the devil. It alludes to the classic motif of the deal with the devil. The intensity of the fiddles keeps you on your toes throughout the whole song. But (spoiler alert) thankfully Johnny wins the contest in the end so you can rest a little easier.
3. “Marie Laveau” (1974) – Bobby Bare
Written by Shel Silverstein and Baxter Taylor, this song is about Marie Laveau—a 19th century Voodoo practitioner. The upbeat tone of the song really contrasts the creepy story Bare tells. But, the hissing/howling sound that Bare makes as Laveau kills each victim is enough to make you cringe. This song is a warning for men: treat every woman well because you never know when she could actually turn out to be a witch…
4. “(Pardon Me) I’ve Got Someone to Kill” (1978) – Johnny Paycheck
There’s no beating around the bush in this song composed by Johnny Paycheck and Aubrey Mayhew; his intentions are clear and concise. He sings about killing a man who took his woman away from him. He doesn’t care that he’ll “surely die” for committing this murder since he’s a “dead man anyhow” without her. Lesson learned, Johnny: don’t mess with a cowboy’s girl.
5. “Country Death Song” (1984) – Violent Femmes
With a name like Violent Femmes, it’s pretty obvious that this artist probably isn’t someone you want to take home to mom. In “Country Death Song”, Femmes tells the story of real event where a man intentionally threw his daughter into a well and then hung himself. Enough said.
The storytelling nature of country music transforms these songs into “ghost stories” in a sense. If you remove the instruments/melody and simply read the lyrics aloud over the campfire in the woods…you’d probably make a few people wide-eyed and paranoid. If you’re looking for a last-minute Halloween costume, Hank William’s ghost or Marie Laveau might be the perfect fit. Party safe.