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October 14, 2011


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Hi Stephen. Thanks for your comment and sorry for my slow response. I remember reading an analysis of Downbound Train that talked about how this guy's life just keeps getting worse and we can see that as he goes from working in a lumber yard, to a car wash, to working on a railroad gang. I'm not convinced he's actually in jail, but I suppose he may as well be! I don't get the impression that he killed his girl, but he sure does miss her since she decided to leave him.

Stephen Martin

I am very happy to find your great site. I never looked up the lyrics to this song, but your quoting the last line confirms my suspicion that he is now in jail (road gang) for killing his girl? Would go along with other themes on Nebraska.

Friday Bruce Fix

Thanks, Monica, great comments! I think you're bang on re the Nebraska version, although after hearing it a couple of times I was starting to enjoy it. Still, it's the wrong arrangement for that song. I have to admit I do like the creepiness of the pump organ version. It is fun hearing how a song can change through different arrangements and instrumentation.


This is my favorite Bruce song so I'm glad to see it getting some attention, especially the last half of the song since it is so cinematic. I'm glad he put the version that he did on BITUSA, I like that one the best. The Nebraska version seems too speeded-up and doesn't do justice to the sadness of the song. The pump organ version is just a little creepy. Maybe he should do Night with the Jersey Devil on that instrument?

Friday Bruce Fix

Thanks for your comment, Katja. One of the things I love about music is how a song can take you back to a specific time, place or situation and help you to recall certain memories. Hopefully you'll have a chance (and some quiet!) so you can listen more closely and stir up those memories!


Thanks a lot for selecting one of my favourite Bruce songs! When I was at school this was the song that I knew by heart, word for word.... (Hard to properly pay attention to listening to it now, though, while my son is watching Simon's cat on the other PC in the same room... Times have changed...)

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