It’s a song about Ralph and Carter Stanley, the iconic Bluegrass men from the Clinch Mountains of Virginia (well, actually Sandy Ridge over in Dickenson County, but I’m not going to fuss about that right now). Hearing Ralph, the second, sing this is a gift to the bluegrass world. I can still see his dad, Dr. Ralph Stanley, at the Hills of Home Festival a few years back, shaking hands with people in the humble, southwest Virginia style of an Appalachian Mountain Man. He was very personable and genuine. I’ll never forget the experience of being at his funeral at that sacred spot near his home, which he called the “Hills of Home” park. Larry Sparks, Patty Loveless, Ricky Skaggs, and Vince Gill, among others, participated. This song pulls a sense of homesickness out of anybody who isn’t in those beautiful hills, but was born and raised there. Here’s the words:
Beautiful Hills of Home
Billy and Joan Wise
In the deep rolling hills of old Virginia
Is where Dad and Uncle Carter lie.
Well they’re gone but they’ll never be forgotten
And their Clinch Mountain music will never die.
I can still hear them singing about their mother;
And “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?”
Now they’re resting on that peaceful mountain
In those beautiful hills of home!
For twenty some years they sang together.
Then Dad had to do it on his own.
But now God has put them back together
In those beautiful hills of home.
(Recorded by Ralph Stanley II)
The song is available on iTunes.