Colter Wall “The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie” Lyrics Meaning

Colter Wall’s “The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie” delves into the complexities of temptation and the ongoing battle against sinister forces. The devil, portrayed with sophistication, preys on the singer’s desires, leading him down a regrettable path. The aftermath of this choice leaves the singer grappling with remorse, underscoring the steep price paid for yielding to temptation.

This song acts as a cautionary narrative, advising artists and anyone aspiring for greatness to draw inspiration from their own souls rather than resorting to dubious means that could compromise their integrity.

In this article, we will dissect the lyrics, exploring their deeper meanings and the themes of temptation, consequences, and the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Inspiration Behind “The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie”

Colter drew inspiration for the song from the legend that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in Rosedale, Mississippi, in exchange for mastery of the blues.

In his Jeff’s Musical Car session, Colter said:

“It’s about a figure in American folklore named Robert Johnson, sorta the godfather of the delta blues. He allegedly sold his soul to the devil in order to be able to play the guitar. So the song’s sorta about that exchange.”

“The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie” Lyrics Meaning

[Verse 1]

Well Reverend, Reverend, please come quick

‘Cause I got something to admit

I met a man out in the sticks of good Ole Miss

He drove a Series 10 Cadillac and wore a cigar on his lip

In the beginning of the lyrics, the singer directs his words towards a clergyman, expressing, “Well Reverend, Reverend, please come quick/’Cause I got something to admit.”

The informal use of “Well, Reverend” serves as a casual way to capture the attention of a minister or clergyman, often rooted in Southern or colloquial language. In this context, the singer turns to a reverend, signaling a need for guidance, confession, or spiritual support.

Continuing, he sings, “I met a man out in the sticks of good Ole Miss/He drove a Series 10 Cadillac and wore a cigar on his lip.” This lyric unveils an encounter the singer had with a man in a rural area of Mississippi, commonly referred to as “the sticks” to denote a less populated or countryside locale.

The description of the man driving a Series 10 Cadillac suggests a certain affluence or a luxurious lifestyle. Moreover, the mention of the cigar perched on his lip adds a distinctive and possibly flamboyant touch to the character’s portrayal.


Don’t you know the devil wears a suit and tie?

I saw him driving down The 61 in early July

White as a cottonfield and sharp as a knife

I heard him howling as he passed me by


Well, the devil wears a suit and tie

I saw him driving down The 61 in early July

White as a cottonfield and sharp as a knife

I heard him howling as he passed me by

In the chorus, the opening line issues a cautionary note, suggesting that evil or temptation can assume deceptive guises. Here, the devil, typically associated with malevolent forces, takes on an unexpected form – someone clad in a suit and tie, symbolic of the gentry class.

The mention of driving down “The 61” likely points to Highway 61, a renowned route in the United States celebrated for its historical and cultural importance, especially in the realm of blues music.

This reference may also harken back to the legend of Robert Johnson’s fateful encounter with the devil at the crossroads of Highways 49 and 61 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. According to American folklore, Johnson exchanged his soul for musical prowess, a deal sealed at this iconic intersection.

The inclusion of “early July” and the vivid imagery of being “white as a cottonfield and sharp as a knife” paints a compelling scene, suggesting a scorching summer day and the devil’s appearance being both striking and perilous.

The depiction of hearing him howling as he passes by injects a bone-chilling and unsettling quality into the narrative, heightening the overall intensity of the experience.

[Verse 2]

And he said, “I know you, I know you, young man

I know you by the state of your hands

You’re a six-string picker, just as I am

Let me learn you somethin’: I know a few turns to make all the girls dance”

In the second verse, the devil directly addresses the singer, referred to as “the young man.” His assertion of knowing the young man “by the state of your hands” hints at an intimate awareness of the singer’s actions or deeds.

The devil not only appreciates the singer’s talent as a “six-string picker” but also establishes a musical connection with him. The phrase “Let me learn you somethin'” takes on a darker tone, suggesting that the devil is offering to teach the young man some questionable musical skills. These skills seem to have an irresistible charm, especially to women, with the potential to “make all the girls dance.”

The lyrics tell a story of temptation, resembling a Faustian bargain where the devil entices the singer with the prospect of captivating others. However, this charm typically comes at a considerable moral or spiritual cost.

[Verse 3]

Oh foolish, foolish was I

Damn my foolish eyes

‘Cause that man’s lessons had a price, oh sweet price

My sweet soul everlasting, a very own eternal light

In the third verse, the singer bares his soul, expressing profound regret and self-condemnation for succumbing to the allure of the devil’s musical teachings, only to realize that the ultimate cost was his own soul.

The phrase “Damn my foolish eyes” conveys his intense regret and frustration, highlighting his realization that he had misconstrued the true cost and reward of the devil’s offer.

“That man’s lessons had a price, oh sweet price” elaborates that the knowledge gained from the devil’s music lessons came at a significant cost. The use of “sweet” underscores the enticing aspect of the musical talent he could have acquired, such as popularity and fame among fans. However, this sweetness is overshadowed by the profound expense of the singer’s eternal soul.

The closing lines, “My sweet soul everlasting, a very own eternal light,” adopt a more somber tone. Here, the singer acknowledges the timeless nature of his soul, recognizing its inherent value as his own “eternal light.”

This suggests a realization that he doesn’t need to rely on the devil’s assistance; rather, he should embark on a journey of self-discovery and learn from his own inner muse to excel in music.

Overall Message

Colter Wall’s “The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie” weaves a captivating tale deeply rooted in Southern Gothic folklore. The song unravels the story of an encounter between the singer and the devil. 

In the lyrics, we find ourselves on the rural roads of Mississippi, where the devil takes an unexpected form—a sharp-dressed man in a Cadillac. This unconventional portrayal challenges stereotypes, highlighting that evil often hides behind a veneer of normalcy.

As the plot develops, the devil tantalizes the singer with promises of musical mastery and the ability to enchant others. This proposition taps into the timeless theme of trading one’s soul for transient earthly pleasures.

The aftermath of the singer’s decision becomes a heavy burden, prompting deep regret and an awareness of the steep price paid for yielding to temptation.

In essence, the singer’s message rings clear: those aspiring for greatness should draw inspiration from their own souls, using their integrity as a guiding light and steering clear of paths promising fame but ultimately leading to moral ruin.

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