Confederate Railroad are back in the news for an unfortunate reason at the moment, but don't let controversy over their name and logo overshadow their music.
The country-rock and Southern rockers scored a string of hits in the early and mid-'90s, and they've kept working solidly over the ensuing decades, releasing their most recent studio album, Lucky to Be Alive, in 2016. The music they made during their commercial peak was a mix of country, rock, Southern rock and more, and it still holds up surprisingly well decades later.
Whether you're a longtime fan or you're just now discovering Confederate Railroad, there's something in this list of the best Confederate Railroad songs for everyone.
"When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back"
Confederate Railroad showed an emotional depth that was well beyond the norms of country radio when they released "When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back" as a single in 1993. The song tells the story of a condemned inmate who is looking back over his life with regret over the choices he's made and the bridges he's burned with all of the most important people in his life, and the powerful twist at the end is a shocker. The song reached No. 14 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.
On the completely opposite side of the coin, Confederate Railroad's 1993 Top 10 hit "Trashy Women" is a rollicking slice of good-time barroom country-rock that unapologetically proclaims, "I like my women just a little on the trashy side." Released as the band's next single right after "When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back," it not only highlighted an entirely different side of their music, it landed them a No. 10 hit that still garners airplay today.
"Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind"
Confederate Railroad scored the final Top 10 hit of their career in 1994 with "Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind." The song pays emotional tribute to a father who was a humble, struggling working man, but who raised his kids with the values of hard work and understanding that love is the one thing money can't buy. The song peaked at No. 9 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.
Confederate Railroad hit the big time with the release of their second single, "Jesus and Mama," in 1992. Written by Danny Mayo and James Dean Hicks, the song tells the story of a man who has committed many sins before turning his life around. But throughout all of his trials and poor choices, the narrator reflects, "Jesus and mama always loved me / This I know." The song reached No. 4 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and established a paradigm for the kind of earnest-mid-tempo songs that would characterize several of the group's subsequent hits.
Confederate Railroad scored the biggest hit of their career with "Queen of Memphis." The third single from their self-titled debut album is a rockin' country song infused with blues, and the lyric is an ode to a young man from Georgia whose life is forever changed on "the night I fell in love with the Queen of Memphis." The song peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and is the perfect choice to head up the list of Confederate Railroad's best songs.