Music/Lyrics: Red Foley/Vaughn Horton/Gene Autry
Original Artist: Gene Autry
Historian: Kazimierz O. Wrzeszczynski
Last Update: 2011-10-24
“Well shut my mouth I’m headin’ South” proclaims this little country folk ditty, first made famous by Gene Autry and later also recorded by Hank Williams. Performed late in Gene Autry’s career (circa 1946/47), "Dixie Cannonball" is a bouncy joyful train song about that good old classic theme of heading south on a train to see your sweetheart. Mike was familiar with the song having played it at least once, exactly four years prior to the Phish debut on 12/30/05 in St. Petersburg, FL during a holiday show of the GRaB Trio (a.k.a. the Benevento/Russo Duo featuring Mike Gordon).
Hank Williams, "Dixie Cannonball"
Phish debuted this song on the third night of the Miami 2009 New Years Eve run, perhaps in tribute to their southern Florida stay or as a possible foreshadowing of the New Year's Eve gag the next night, which featured drummer Fishman being shot out of a cannon (or was he?) in a New Year's Eve Times Square-esque cannonball. Similar in style to "The Old Home Place" (a song also suggesting a tribute to Virginia on 12/5/09), the band performs "Dixie Cannonball" with an ease and familiarity as if playing it for years. In some manner they have – understandable since this basic country/folk template has been in their catalog for most of their career. The quick country-style piano and guitar solos and a very nice vocal rendition by Mike suggest that "Dixie Cannonball" may provide a refreshing new addition to the band's bluegrass/country repertoire.
Phish, "Dixie Cannonball" – 12/30/09, Miami, FL