Bluegrass too depressing to be a state song?

Gov. Tim Kaine sits in with Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby for the encore number on the Festival Stage at Jamestown on May 12. (photo by Richmond Times-Dispatch)For the last ten years, the state of Virginia has been without a state song. This proves to be a confusing situation for those in charge of sporting events and public inaugurations. The search for a new song has continually stalled because the delegates involved in the search process can’t seem to find any common ground to agree on when it comes to musical tastes.

The Washington Times is reporting this morning that during a radio interview yesterday in Richmond, a caller asked Gov. Tim Kaine about the situation. The Governor’s response was to say that he preferred to stay out of that debate, joking that he didn’t have thick enough skin to deal with it.

He just couldn’t seem to follow his own advice though, and suggested that his pick for a new state song would be the bluegrass gospel tune Will The Circle Be Unbroken. After offering that suggestion he continued to joke, saying:

I’m sure my popularity will plummet even further after having waded into that.

The anticipated critisism has already begun, with one state legislator suggesting that Kaine’s comments couldn’t be taken seriously because,

he’s from Kansas, so what does he know?

Well, Kaine does have a proven track record of being a bluegrass fan. The Governor plays harmonica and has been known to join a bluegrass band on stage from time to time. Check out the photo I included of Gov. Kaine on stage with Ricky Skaggs.

Sen. Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., who previously chaired the state song committee, did go on to admit that he personally likes the song, but feels it is to depressing to be the state song.

I like that song, but a lot of people get depressed by that song because it is about standing by the window waiting for the hearse to come to bring your mother away. We want to be more upbeat than that.

Bluegrass does contain a lot of depressing lyrics if you take them out of the context of the music. But I wonder if the Governor from Kansas doesn’t understand many of people of this state’s musical tastes better than the senator does. I, for one, would be fine with Will The Circle Be Unbroken, or most any of the Virginia centered bluegrass tunes in existence, even if the lyrics are a bit sad.

I searched through my iTunes collection and couldn’t find a bluegrass song mentioning Virginia that was happy.

Anyone have an alternate choice for the senator that’s a little more upbeat in lyrical content?

  • Big_Sandy

    I’m pretty sure the Stanley’s did a ton of songs about Virginia…..

  • Steve Blanchard

    Lost and Found recorded a perfect song called Virginia, That’s My Home. The words are:

    Way back in them good ole hills
    Neath the coal mines and the old saw mills
    Blue Ridge Mountains
    That’s my home

    Come the weekend tune the strings up right
    Play bluegrass music on a Saturday night
    In Virginia
    Near Kentucky
    That’s my home

    I’m goin back there some day
    From this old place I’ll never stray
    The old Dominion
    That’s my home

    This would be an ideal bluegrass song to be used as a state song.


  • Bob Zentz

    Hello All, visit my website; go to the Songbook section; click on letters m-p, and select-“Ol’ Virginia”. The mp3 is a free download, so help yourself! The lyrics include Peanuts, the Cardinal, and Dogwood! It’s in the key of C! Feel free to pass it along, And, I’d like to know what you think…
    Happy Holidays…
    Bob Zentz
    Norfolk, Va.