Truck-driving country

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Truck-driving country is a subgenre of country and western music. It is characterized by lyrical content about trucks (i.e. commercial vehicles, not pick-up trucks), truck drivers or truckers, and the trucking industry experience. This includes, for example, references to truck stops, CB radio, trucker jokes, attractive women, romance, heartbreak, loneliness, stimulants and eugeroics, teamsters, roads and highways, billboards, inclement weather, traffic, ICC, DOT, car accidents, washrooms, etc. [1] In truck-driving country, references to "truck" include the following truck types: 10 wheeler, straight truck, 18 wheeler, tractor (bobtail), semi, tractor-trailer, semi tractor trailer, big rig, and some others. Truck-driving country musicians include Dave Dudley, Red Sovine, Dick Curless, Red Simpson, Del Reeves, the Willis Brothers, Jerry Reed, C. W. McCall (1976 big hit "Convoy"), Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, [2] Mac Wiseman, [3] and Cledus Maggard. [4] [5]


It shares some overlap with road music (e.g. Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again", Roger Miller's "King of the Road") , which may or may not involve commercial trucks but carries many of the same themes of the traveling worker. It is not to be confused with the frequent use of the personal-use pickup truck in bro-country, where the vehicle is mainly used as a pick-up device.


It is, at least partly, an oral history of trucking. A range of social and economic factors in the United States have strongly influenced the evolution of truck-driving country as a subgenre of country music. These factors include industrial dispute, the demographic shift from rural to urban areas, economic recessions, changes in the railroads, and the oil embargo. Their impacts have diversified the folklore of truck songs. [6]

Technological developments and changes related to both the music business and the trucking industry, however, have brought about the greatest changes to truck-driving country. Variously, these include the jukebox, 33⅓ rpm vinyl record albums, 8-track tape, cassette tape, the transistor to digital revolution, the Internet, CB radio, all-night radio broadcasts targeting truckers, Interstate highways, and multiple truck components (sleeper cabs, air suspension, power steering, synchronized transmissions, air conditioning, air seats, and electronics). [7]

Collectively, there are more than 500 truck-driving country songs, all of which more or less originate from the oral tradition of truck folklore. Occupations, of course, have traditionally provided the raw material and inspiration for folk music in the United States (e.g. riverboat, mining, Great Lakes water commerce, logging, cowboy, railroad, agricultural field work and others), influenced by regional culture as well. [8] Folk songs adopt, adapt, and incorporate colloquialisms, slang, and occupational terms into verbal snapshots. In truck-driving country, such specialized words and terms as truck rodeo, dog house, twin screw, Georgia overdrive, saddle tanks, jake brake, binder and others borrowed from the lingo of truckers are commonly utilized. [9] CB vocabulary - which is different from truck driver lingo [10] - is used by both truckers and the general public. Some of that vocabulary has evolved into popular culture and subsequently incorporated into truck-driving country (e.g. “hammer down,” “shakey town,” “smokey,” and “pedal to the metal”). [11]


There has been a certain mystique attached to truck drivers and commercial trucking in general, especially those engaged in long-distance (over-the-road) driving. [12]

The evolution of technology continues to influence trucking music. Just as truck drivers in the 1970s and 1980s no longer had to rely on AM radio or pre-recorded 8-track tapes to listen to the music they wanted to hear, today the portable computer, wireless Wi-Fi, and satellite radio allows independent singer-songwriters, such as Dale Watson, Jim Goad, Sonny George, and Bill Kirchen, to produce and distribute their own trucking music. [13]

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Truck Commercial or utilitarian motor vehicle

A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo, carry specialized payloads, or perform other utilitarian work. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, but the vast majority feature body-on-frame construction, with a cabin that is independent of the payload portion of the vehicle. Smaller varieties may be mechanically similar to some automobiles. Commercial trucks can be very large and powerful and may be configured to be mounted with specialized equipment, such as in the case of refuse trucks, fire trucks, concrete mixers, and suction excavators. In American English, a commercial vehicle without a trailer or other articulation is formally a "straight truck" while one designed specifically to pull a trailer is not a truck but a "tractor".

Lumberjack Worker who performs the initial harvesting of trees

Lumberjacks are mostly North American workers in the logging industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The term usually refers to loggers in the era when trees were felled using hand tools and dragged by oxen to rivers. The work was difficult, dangerous, intermittent, low-paying, and involved living in primitive conditions. However, the men built a traditional culture that celebrated strength, masculinity, confrontation with danger, and resistance to modernization.

Citizens band radio Land mobile radio system

Citizens band radio, used in many countries, is a land mobile radio system, a system allowing short-distance person-to-many persons bidirectional voice communication among individuals, using two way radios operating on 40 channels near 27 MHz (11 m) in the high frequency band. Citizens band is distinct from other personal radio service allocations such as FRS, GMRS, MURS, UHF CB and the Amateur Radio Service. In many countries, CB operation does not require a license, and it may be used for business or personal communications. Like many other land mobile radio services, multiple radios in a local area share a single frequency channel, but only one can transmit at a time. The radio is normally in receive mode to receive transmissions of other radios on the channel; when users want to talk they press a "push to talk" button on their radio, which turns on their transmitter. Users on a channel must take turns talking. Transmitter power is limited to 4 watts in the US and the EU. CB radios have a range of about 3 miles (4.8 km) to 20 miles (32 km) depending on terrain, for line of sight communication; however, various radio propagation conditions may intermittently allow communication over much greater distances.

Truck driver Person who earns a living as the driver of a truck

A truck driver is a person who earns a living as the driver of a truck, which is commonly defined as a large goods vehicle (LGV) or heavy goods vehicle (HGV).

Convoy (song) 1975 single by C. W. McCall

"Convoy" is a 1975 novelty song performed by C. W. McCall that became a number-one song on both the country and pop charts in the US and is listed 98th among Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time. Written by McCall and Chip Davis, the song spent six weeks at number one on the country charts and one week at number one on the pop charts. The song went to number one in Canada as well, hitting the top of the RPM Top Singles Chart on January 24, 1976. "Convoy" also peaked at number two in the UK. The song capitalized on the fad for citizens band (CB) radio. The song was the inspiration for the 1978 Sam Peckinpah film Convoy, for which McCall rerecorded the song to fit the film's storyline.

This is a list of notable events in country music that took place in the year 1976.

<i>Movin On</i> (TV series)

Movin' On is an American drama television series. It ran for two seasons from 1974 to 1976 on the NBC network.

James Wesley "Jay" Huguely was an American stage actor, singer, advertising executive, and television writer and executive who enjoyed a brief run of popularity as a novelty recording artist in the 1970s, recording as Cledus Maggard & the Citizen's Band. He worked for Leslie Advertising in Greenville, South Carolina and enjoyed his only hit in 1976 with "The White Knight", released during the wave of popularity of the citizens' band radio. The song is about a truck driver victimized by a Georgia highway patrolman's speed trap. He chose the name "Cledus" after his mother's name Cleta.

Bill Mack Smith Jr. was an American country music songwriter, singer, and radio host. While at WBAP Radio, Mack initiated the Bill Mack Million Mile Club for truckers achieving one million miles of accident-free over-the-road driving.

Teddy Bear (Red Sovine song) 1976 single by Red Sovine

"Teddy Bear" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music singer Red Sovine. It was released in June 1976 as the title track to Sovine's album of the same name.

"The White Knight" is a novelty country music song made famous by Jay Huguely, who - recording as Cledus Maggard & The Citizen's Band - enjoyed a brief run of national popularity with the song when it became popular in 1976.

Six Days on the Road

"Six Days on the Road" is an American song written by Earl Green and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio songwriter Carl Montgomery, made famous by country music singer Dave Dudley. The song was initially recorded by Paul Davis and released in 1961 on the Bulletin label. In 1963, the song became a major hit when released by Dudley, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and cracking the Top 40 (#32) on the Hot 100, leading to it being hailed as the definitive celebration of the American truck driver.

P.A.M. Transportation Services Inc. is an irregular route over-the-road trucking company that is based in Tontitown, Arkansas. Founded in April 1980, P.A.M's current service area covers the lower continental 48 states as well as the southern parts of Ontario, Canada. In the early 1990s, P.A.M. began providing transportation services to Mexico under agreements with several Mexican trucking carriers. P.A.M. Transport serves clients primarily in the automotive, manufacturing, and retail industries and its primary freight consists of general commodities, automotive parts, and heating and air conditioning units. According to the Hoovers financial data on this company, P.A.M.’s company name stands for Pretty Awesome Mileage, yet according to the company's own FAQ on their website, P.A.M. is short for the company founder's initials, Paul Allen Maestri.

Trucking industry in the United States American industry

The trucking industry serves the American economy by transporting large quantities of raw materials, works in process, and finished goods over land—typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers. Trucks are also used in the construction industry, two of which require dump trucks and portable concrete mixers to move the large amounts of rocks, dirt, concrete, and other building materials used in construction. Trucks in America are responsible for the majority of freight movement over land and are tools in the manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing industries.

A specialized set of jargon describe the tools, equipment, and employment sectors used in the trucking industry in the United States. Some terms may be used within other English-speaking countries, or within the freight industry in general. For example, shore power is a term borrowed from shipping terminology, in which electrical power is transferred from shore to ship, instead of the ship relying upon idling its engines. Drawing power from land lines is more efficient than engine idling and eliminates localized air pollution. Another borrowed term is "landing gear", which refers to the legs which support the front end of a semi-trailer when it is not connected to a semi-truck. Some nicknames are obvious wordplay, such as "portable parking lot", in reference to a truck that carries automobiles.

Trucking industry in American culture

The portrayal of the trucking industry in United States popular culture spans the depictions of trucks and truck drivers, as images of the masculine side of trucking are a common theme. The portrayal of drivers ranges from the heroes of the 1950s, living a life of freedom on the open road, to the depiction of troubled serial killers of the 1990s. Songs and movies about truck drivers were first popular in the 1940s, and mythologized their wandering lifestyle in the 1960s. Truck drivers were glorified as modern day cowboys, outlaws, and rebels during the peak of trucker culture in the 1970s.

History of the trucking industry in the United States

The trucking industry in the United States has affected the political and economic history of the United States in the 20th century. Before the invention of automobiles, most freight was moved by train or horse-drawn vehicle.


  1. Stern, Jane Trucker, A Portrait of the Last American Cowboy (1975)
  2. "The Bio". Commander Cody. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  3. Thanki, Juli. "Country, bluegrass great Wiseman, dead at 93". No. Vol.115, No.56. The Tennessean. p. 1A. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  4. James Wesley Huguely=Cledus Maggard Retrieved 9 February 2021
  5. "Dave Dudley" . Retrieved 2009-02-24.
  6. Roach, Joyce Gibson "Diesel Smoke & Dangerous Curves: Folklore of the Trucking Industry" Hunters and Healers (1977) pp. 45–53
  7. American Truck Historical Society, <>
  8. Danker, Frederick E. "Trucking Songs: A comparison with Traditional Occupational Song" Journal of Country Music (Jan 1978) pp78-89
  9. Roach, Joyce Gibson Hunters & Healers
  10. Porter, Bernard H. "Truck Driver Lingo" American Speech (Apr 1942) pp102-105
  11. Seese, Gwyneth E. (Dandalion) Tijuana Bear in a Smoke'um Up Taxi 1977
  12. Schroeder, Fred "A Bellyful of Coffee: The Truck Drivin' Man as Folk Hero" Journal of Popular Culture (Spring 1969) pp 679–687
  13. Johnson, Jon "Watson, George, Holiday" Country Standard Time (Aug/Sept 2000) pp7-9

See also