From the recording One More Road

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Being a U.S. History teacher, Shannon gets much of his inspiration from that genre. He watched, with much anticipation, the mini-series of The Hatfields and McCoys in 2012 and wanted to tell that story. Thanks to Tina Steffey for coming in and grooving the clawhammer on this one; she really made the song come alive and John’s fiddle is really showcased here as well!


The Ballad of Johnse Hatfield
By Shannon Slaughter Elite Circuit Music © 2012

I was born in Logan County / a native mountain man
My father and his father / before him lived on this land

Across the Tug Fork waters/ I caught her glance one day
In soul I pledged my troth and / from her eyes I did not stray

My father’s kin they did not know / my love to her I could not show

So I courted her in secret / and down with her I lay
Her with child we planned to marry / in my cabin we would stay

But our fathers bore a scorn that / could not be dealt with by man
Just like the Tug Fork that / did divide our separate lands

A son in a family with no voice / so my father for me made the choice

I joined my kindred’s legion / eldest of the “Devil’s” clan
Shouldered by hell’s fire and fury / he swore vengeance on one man

Girded with my knife and rifle / I lit out with all the rest
As dawn was slowly breaking / Feared I could not pass this test

We besieged their mountain cabin place / children died much to my disgrace

I was not like “The Devil” / and his ways did often dread
So I set out for the West with / a bounty on my head

Lo, I returned to face my penance / and for my soul did plea
Paid the debt charged to my name / and for my loyalty

Now my story you have often heard /Here I give you all my final word

I am a part of history / and the feud that bears my name
All for loving sweet Roseanna / I bore all the guilt and shame