The 1937 Flood Watch
The 1937 Flood Watch Podcast
"Can You Run?"

"Can You Run?"

#357 / May 31 Podcast

We have always found this song incredibly moving, due in no small part to memories of the place and time when we played it in public for the first time.

It was seven years ago at our favorite Charleston, WV, venue — Taylor Books — on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.

Honestly, had the gig not already been booked for months in advance, we probably would not have wanted to perform that evening.

That’s because for us — and for most of the people in the audience that night — images from the previous 24 hours were too fresh, too raw: hateful scenes of white supremacists and neo-Nazis rioting in the streets of the sweet, beautiful town of Charlottesville, Va.

In that context, the poignant lyrics we sang at the show took on an even greater resonance.

Chris Stapleton’s Song

Set in the Civil War, Chris Stapleton’s haunting “Can You Run?” tells the story of a young slave pleading with his lover to join him for a dangerous dash to the Union line so that he can fight alongside “the freedom line of the Lincoln soldiers.”

At one point in the song, he tells her:

You know I hate to ask so late
But the moment's finally come,
And there won't be time to change your mind.
Can you run?

We still remember tears in the eyes of two old friends at the front table as they listened to our rendering of the song that Stapleton created at the very beginning of his rich and prolific career.

About the Composer

Our region is so proud of Chris Stapleton. The 46-year-old Lexington, Ky., native grew up not far from us in the tiny Johnson County town of Staffordsville in Eastern Kentucky. To date, Chris has won 10 Grammys, 11 Academy of Country Music Awards and 15 Country Music Association Awards.

Besides that, he also has been named the ACM's Artist-Songwriter of the Decade, and last year Rolling Stone magazine included Stapleton among the “200 Greatest Singers of All Time.”

Stapleton had written and/or co-written nearly 200 songs. He has six No. 1 country songs to his credit, including Kenny Chesney’s “Never Wanted Nothing More,” Josh Turner’s “Your Man,” George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” and Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer.” His work has appeared on albums by Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift and so many others.

As noted, “Can You Run?” emerged in the early days of Stapleton’s career, appearing in 2010 on Reckless, the second album of The SteelDrivers, the Nashville-based band in which he was the lead singer.

Our Take on the Tune

Our Randy Hamilton brought us this song about seven years ago.

Lately it’s been back in the repertoire, with Danny Cox doing double duty, singing harmony to Randy’s great lead vocal and trading solos with Sam St. Clair, all framed by Jack Nuckols’ tasteful drumming and Charlie Bowen’s little bit of banjo. Take a listen.

The 1937 Flood Watch
The 1937 Flood Watch Podcast
Each week The 1937 Flood, West Virginia's most eclectic string band, offers a free tune from a recent rehearsal, show or jam session. Music styles range from blues and jazz to folk, hokum, ballad and old-time. All the podcasts, dating back to 2008, are archived on our website; you and use the archive for free at: