"There’s a difference between a hobo and a bum, and this song is surely about a man who, like Cotton Kingfisher, is no bum. A hobo rides the rails to look for work, not a handout. Cotton has a moral ethic to his wandering ways and refuses to mooch off a soul. Nonetheless, the good-natured hobo has to war with the bad-natured demons and vices of his own soul, and any ill-willed poor-mannered souls he tips his hat to along the way. “Workin’ Man” is a manifesto of that struggle. A chorus -- sung by a giant chorus of men -- came in to my head one night as I was putting my daughter down for bed. Then I decided to record some authentic raw working sounds for a percussive beat -- a shovel of gravel, the chop of an axe, the pound of a hammer. This song combines a love of old ballads like “Big John” and “Sixteen Tons” with the home-brew style of Tom Waits."