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     1 – “The West Virginia Hills”

Words by: Ellen Ruddell King
Music and Chorus by: Henry Everett Engle

Oh, the West Virginia hills! How majestic and how grand,
With their summits bathed in glory, Like our Prince Immanuel’s Land!
Is it any wonder then, That my heart with rapture thrills,
As I stand once more with loved ones On those West Virginia hills?


Oh, the hills, beautiful hills, How I love those West Virginia hills!
If o’er sea o’er land I roam, Still I’ll think of happy home,
And my friends among the West Virginia hills.

Oh, the West Virginia hills! Where my childhood hours were passed,
Where I often wandered lonely, And the future tried to cast;
Many are our visions bright, Which the future ne’er fulfills;
But how sunny were my daydreams On those West Virginia hills!


Oh, the West Virginia hills! How unchang’d they seem to stand,
With their summits pointed skyward To the Great Almighty’s Land!
Many changes I can see, Which my heart with sadness fills;
But no changes can be noticed In those West Virginia hills.


Oh, the West Virginia hills! I must bid you now adieu.
In my home beyond the mountains I shall ever dream of you;
In the evening time of life, If my Father only wills,
I shall still behold the vision Of those West Virginia hills.


Oh, the hills, beautiful hills, How I love those West Virginia hills!
If o’er sea o’er land I roam, Still I’ll think of happy home,
And my friends among the West Virginia hills.

West-Virginia-Hills song sheet music

         “The West Virginia Hills” – WV 4-H Songs


(2:25/2014/WV 4-H Songs)



         “The West Virginia Hills” – a slower version




         “The West Virginia Hills” – on the Mountain Dulcimer

(1:47/2013/Jim Fawcett)



     2 – “West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home”

Words and music by: Col. Julian G. Hearne, Jr.


West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home.

My heart beats with lasting love for you,
Where my roots are so deep, Where my fore-father’s sleep,
Where kin-folks and friends are staunch and true;
Where the Blue of the North
And the Grey of the South
Long have blended in perfect harmony,
Where the East meets the West,
And derives from each the best,
That’s West Virginia home sweet home for me.


Where mountains and hills and valleys too
And the orchards, the farms,
Timberlands, all have charms
And fact’ries and mines are on view;
There I work, and I play,
And I worship Sunday,
in that land where the mountaineers are free,
Other States are OK,
It’s a grand old USA,
But West Virginia’s home sweet home for me.








         “West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home” – William Matheny

“For more than a decade,  William Matheny has been a singular presence in West Virginia music. After learning guitar from his bluegrass performing father, Matheny quickly established himself as a trusted side person for some of the region’s most beloved and influential musicians – including Mark Poole, Brian Porterfield and Todd Burge – where he lent his talents on guitar, drums, bass, banjo, mandolin, lap steel, and occasionally, charisma. All the while, he continued to build his own catalog of original tunes, assembled a band and released his first proper solo album, “Born of Frustration.”   – Josh Saul, web producer, NPR’s Mountain Stage”     (1:55/2014/MH3WV.org)

(Audio Only – This is likely the first (and only) recording of this song.  Recorded exclusively for MH3WV.org)


     3 – “This Is My West Virginia”


Words and music by: Iris Bell

This is my West Virginia,
the home of all my family,
And the faces of her people
ever glow with loyalty;
The honest sweat born of honest toil
is the only way they know
Here in my West Virginia,
the home that I love so.

This is my West Virginia,
her beauty makes my spirit whole,
In the times of dread and anguish
it calms my fevered soul;
I lift mine eyes unto these hills
and they give me power to go on
Here in my West Virginia,
where I was born.

This is my West Virginia,
and free her sons will always be
We will stand behind our principles as in 1863
Her pride will live and her strength will grow
‘Til her mountains turn to dust;
This is my West Virginia, the land I trust.

This is my West Virginia,
these hills that guard my liberty
And her flag proclaims the legend
“Mountaineers are always free.”
Where-e’re I go she will call to me
through the world in which I roam
This is my West Virginia, my land, my home.



         “This is My West Virginia” – Iris Bell

“‘This is My West Virginia’ was written by Iris Bell in 1961, when she awoke in the middle of the night with the music and lyrics running through her head. She quickly found pencil and paper and wrote down the song, which became the Centennial Song in 1962, and the following year was adopted as the third State Song of West Virginia. Iris believed in the beauty and nobility of our state and its people, and her passion for her home state comes through in the heartfelt lyrics and rousing march accompaniment. Iris Bell on piano and vocals, Butch Miles on drums, Derek Pierson on bass.”     (3:16/2011/April Pierson-Keating)



     4 – “Take Me Home, Country Roads” – John Denver, Bill Danoff & Taffy Nivert (co-writers)

(3:23/2008/4642 977)

         “Country Roads: The Legislature Today”

“Sen. Bill Cole stands to urge support of making “(Take Me Home), Country Roads” by John Denver an official state song. Dreama Denver, the wife of Bob Denver (of ‘Gilligan’s Island’–no relation to John Denver), started the campaign to make it an official state song and looks on as the Senate passes her resolution.”

(1:06/2014/WV Public Broadcasting)





“My Home Among the Hills”

Words and music by: E.W. James, Jr.

There’s a land of rolling mountains
Where the sky is blue above.
And though I may roam, I hurry home,
To those friendly hills I love.

Where moonlit meadows ring with the call of whippoorwills
Always you will find me in my home among the hills
And where the sun draws rainbows in the mist
Of waterfalls and mountain rills

My heart will be always in the West Virginia Hills
There, autumn hillsides are bright with scarlet trees
and in the spring, the robins sing
While apple blossoms whisper in the breeze

And there is music in the flashing streams
and joy in fields of daffodils
Laughter through the happy valleys
of my home among the hills







     “My Home Among the Hills – Accompanied by Photographs of West Virginia”

” ‘My Home Among the Hills’, West Virginia’s unofficial State song (music and words by E.W. James Jr., a trustee of West Virginia Wesleyan College). The song is accompanied by a slide show of photographs of West Virginia.”



     “My Home Among the Hills” – WV 4-H Songs

(2:42/2014/WV 4-H Songs)



“The 55 Counties Song”

We’re proud of West Virginia
the home of the Mountaineers
the child of the Civil War
born during stormy years

In 1863 Abe Lincoln gave the call
and 55 counties lead the way
let’s salute them one by one

There’s Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Braxton,
Brooke, and Cabell too

Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge,
Fayette, Gilmer, Grant,

Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock,
Hardy, Harrison,

Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha,
Lewis, Lincoln,

Logan, Marion, Marshall,
Mason, and Mercer,

Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia,
Monroe, and Morgan,

McDowell, Nicholas, Ohio

Pleasants, Pocahontas,
Preston, Putnam,

Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie,
Roane, and Summers too,

Taylor, Tucker, Tyler,
Upshur, and Wayne,

Webster, Wetzel, Wirt,
Wood and Wyoming

We’re proud of West Virginia
and this is why we sing

We’re proud of West Virginia
the home of the Mountaineers
A child of the Civil War
born during stormy years

In 1863 Abe Lincoln gave the call
and the 35th star was on our flag
that would soon outshine them all!

     “55 Counties of West Virginia”




     “We’re Proud Of West Virginia”

“This is a song I learned in 6th grade at Robert L. Bland Middle School In Weston, WV In WV History class.  I do not know the author but to whomever it may be, I give full credit and thanks to for the lyrics.   This is a beautiful song about my home state. I’ve have had many requests to record this song by several people so thus I have. Enjoy everybody.”    (1:40/2012/Jerry Lee Mealey Jr)



“The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia”

By ‘Utah’ Phillips

The green rolling hills of West Virginia
Are the nearest thing to heaven that I know
Though the times are sad and drear
And I cannot linger here
They’ll keep me and never let me go

My daddy said, don’t ever be a miner
For a miner’s grave is all you’ll ever own
‘Cause the hard times are everywhere
I can’t find a dime to spare
These are the worst times I’ve ever known

So I’ll move away into some crowded city
In some northern factory town you’ll find me there
Though I’ll leave the past behind
I’ll never change my mind
These troubled times are more than I could bear

But someday I’ll go back to West Virginia
To the green rolling hills I love so well
Yes, someday I’ll go home
And I know I’ll right the wrong
These troubled times will follow me no more

Explore Huntington Herald-Dispatch’s ” ‘Utah’ Phillips, ‘Green Rolling Hills’ writer, dies at age 73″ news article  (pdf)

     “The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia” – Emmylou Harris & Mary Black

“From Series 1 of Transatlantic Sessions. Aly Bain, Jay Ungar and Russ Barenberg amongst the musicians accompanying.”  (3:34/2009/1000Magicians)


“West Virginia, My Home”

By Hazel Dickens


West Virginia, oh my home
West Virginia, where I belong
In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet
I slip away, like a bird in flight
Back to those hills, the place that I call home

It’s been years now, since I left there
And this city life’s about got the best of me
I can’t remember why I left so free
What I wanted to do, what I wanted to see
But I can sure remember where I come from

West Virginia, oh my home
West Virginia, where I belong
In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet
I slip away, like a bird in flight
Back to those hills, the place that I call home

Well I paid the price for the leavin’
And this life I have’s not one I thought I’d find
Just let me live, love, let me cry
But when I go, just let me die
Among the friends who’ll remember when I’m gone

West Virginia, oh my home
West Virginia, where I belong
In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet
I slip away, like a bird in flight
Back to those hills, the place that I call home

Home, home, home
Oh, I can see it so clear in my mind
Home, home, home
I can almost smell the honeysuckle vine

In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet
I slip away, like a bird in flight
Back to those hills, the place that I call home

“Hazel Dickens became an accomplished bluegrass performer at a time when the genre was dominated by men. She was also an admired advocate for women’s and worker’s rights. Hazel was one of the most important bluegrass singers of the last fifty years and the writer of very poignant songs drawn from her personal experience. Along with fellow musician and friend Alice Gerrard, she empowered countless female singers and musicians to succeed without sacrificing integrity. In this performance, Dickens, herself the eighth of eleven children born to a West Virginia mining family, pays homage to her home state.  (Hazel Dickens passed away on April 22, 2011)

“To read a full appreciation of Hazel Dickens from Smithsonian Folkways Magazine, visit: http://www.folkways.si.edu/magazine/2011_spring/archive_spotlight-hazel.aspx

“The content and comments posted here are subject to the Smithsonian Institution copyright and privacy policy (www.si.edu/copyright/). Smithsonian reserves the right in its sole discretion to remove any content at any time.”

     “West Virginia, My Home” – Hazel Dickens and Phyllis Boyens – 1978

 At the Smithsonian Folklife Festival     (4:04/2011/Smithsonian Folkways)



     “West Virginia, My Home” – Hazel Dickens and Ginny Hawker – 2008

 At the Women of Traditional Music Conference – Morehead (KY) State University  (4:44/2011/Kim Johnson)



     “West Virginia, My Home” – Kathy Mattea

(4:07/2012/Kathy Mattea)




“West Virginia – This Is My Home” – Larry Groce

“A collection of beautiful photos my dad took and compiled to “This Is My Home” by Larry Groce.”




“Simple Gifts”

(based on the traditional Shaker hymn)

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

     “Simple Gifts – the Shakers”

“A simple movie on the early American worship song ‘Simple Gifts.’  The music background was created in a live performance in Riverside, California on a Taylor 914 and Guitar Rig 2 looping software.”   (3:44/2008/bolander619)


     “Simple Gifts” – WVU Marching Band – 1978

“The 1978 WVU band performing ‘Simple Gifts.’ ”    (1:51/2007/WVUsax27)


     “Simple Gifts” – Blast!

” ‘Simple Gifts’ from ‘Blast’ “   (7:37/2007/陳宣宏)



“Mountain Stage”

mountain stage
“For more than 30 years, Mountain Stage has been the home of live music on public radio. Recorded in front of a live audience, Mountain Stage features performances from seasoned legends and emerging stars in genres ranging from folk and blues to indie rock, synth pop, world music, and beyond. Produced in West Virginia and distributed by NPR, each two hour episode of Mountain Stage can be heard every week on more than 130 stations across America, and around the world via NPR Music. . .” 

Explore “Mountain Stage” Website

“West Virginia Music Hall of Fame”



“The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and preserving the rich and lasting contributions West Virginians have made to all genres of music. The Hall of Fame’s mission is to recognize the many important musicians who have helped shape the rich spectrum of American music from country, classical and jazz to rock, R&B, gospel and traditional. The WVMHoF’s mission also includes establishing a permanent facility to house the Hall of Fame and an accompanying museum to exhibit and archive recordings and memorabilia.”

Explore “WV Music Hall of Fame” Website


     “West Virginia My Home. Musicians and the Mountain State Experience.” (Trailer)



“The challenge is to get young people who grow up in places like West Virginia to take the limits off of yourself – and realize that there’s no magic that somebody else has in the world that you don’t. They’re just people.” – Bill Withers


“Growing up in Slab Fork in Raleigh County, Bill Withers is well aware of the importance of expanding one’s world and that, growing up in a small state, does not need to be a barrier to pursuing dreams.

“The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s new documentary, “West Virginia My Home: Musicians and the Mountain State Experience,” offers a fascinating look at some of the most prominent musicians to come from West Virginia, and how the “Mountain State Experience” influenced their lives and music.

“Artists including Bill Withers, Brad Paisley, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hazel Dickens, George Crumb, Kathy Mattea, Ann Magnuson, John Ellison, Everett Lilly, Charlie McCoy and Billy Edd Wheeler, recall their experiences growing up in West Virginia, and how those values and ideals helped shape their careers. Interviewees also include Larry Groce, the late Joe Dobbs and mega-successful WV songwriters Donnie Kees and Jeff Stevens.

“The film was produced by The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame and features the talents of numerous filmmakers including Steven Schmidt, Bob Wilkerson, Jack Wright and Evan Shaw. Charleston native Anna Sale . . .  narrates the film. The hour-long documentary was funded by The West Virginia Humanities Council, the West Virginia Legislature, and the Hamilton Family Foundation.”

(3:06/2017/West Virginia Music Hall of Fame)

“Mountain Music Trail”


“Promoting and presenting the traditional music, dance, and folkways of the Allegheny Mountain region.”

“Promoting cultural tourism and sustainable economic development near the Highway 219 corridor in Monroe, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker counties; and sharing a cultural experience that brings together visitors and residents alike, to enjoy and participate in traditional mountain folkways.

Explore “Mountain Music Trail” Website

“Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College”

“A Center of Excellence, Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College offers ten week-long programs featuring instruction in many traditions of music, dance, craft, and folklore. Concerts, dances, a festival, and other heritage arts events are also part of the Augusta experience. Visit us on the wooded, historic campus of Davis & Elkins College located in the scenic mountain town of Elkins, West Virginia.”

“Music & Dance Theme Weeks:  Each summer Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College offers music and dance classes from many traditions in the form of theme weeks: Cajun/Creole Week, Early Country Music Week, Blues & Swing Week, Bluegrass Week, Old-Time Week, Vocal Week. Each theme week is offered concurrently with Craft, Arts, & Folklore classes.”

Explore Augusta Heritage Center’s Website

     “Irish/Celtic Week At Augusta Heritage Center”

“Founded in 1982 by Dr. Mick Moloney, the Augusta Heritage Center’s Irish/Celtic Week is the oldest week of its kind in the United States. For 31 years, Augusta has consistently attracted the world’s finest instructors to immerse students in the very best of Irish craft, folklore, music and dance.  Students choose two subjects and meet for intensive classes each morning and afternoon. Evening activities include sessions, Ceili and set dances in our beautiful open-air dance pavilion, and world-class concerts. Students are invited to sign up for an optional evening mini-course. Anyone with a passion for traditional Irish culture will find this week a delightful and engrossing experience!”

Many West Virginians Have a Scotch/Irish/Celtic Heritage

(3:28/2013/Davis & Elkins College)



     “Old Time Dance Party at Augusta Heritage Center” – Elkins

“Flatfoot dancing on the Halliehurst Porch at Davis and Elkins College (WV) in August 2008.”   (5:54/2008/Wilmer Kerns)

     “Clogging Duet to Ragtime Annie” – Davis and Elkins Dance Collective

“This performance took place August 4, 2011 during Bluegrass Week at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, WV.

“Dancers: Susan Krakoff and Matthew Kupstas;  Choreography: Matthew Kupstas;  Tune: Ragtime Annie

“Musicians: Byron Berline (Fiddle), Jim Mills (Banjo), Tyler Grant (Guitar), Jesse Brock (Mandolin), and Mike Fleming (Bass)”

(3:28/2011/Davis & Elkins College)

“Hammered Dulcimer ~ Irish Jigs”

“Two Irish Jigs, Out on the Ocean & The Legacy, played on a Rick Thum Hammered Dulcimer.”

(2:18/2008/Dick Glascow)


“Hammered Dulcimer ~ Scottish Set of Tunes”

“The Scottish tunes played on my Rick Thum Hammered Dulcimer are: The Braes of Tulliemet;  Scarce o’ Tatties;  &  Drummond Castle”

(3:33/2008/Dick Glascow)


      “Making a Hammered Dulcimer – The Mountain Traditions Project”

(10:51/2012/Appalachian Independent)



     “Traditional Clogging Duet”

“Morgan and Madison – 2013 Clogging Champions of America – Showdown of Champions in Knoxville, TN”  (1:46/2013/Morgan Mallum)




“The Road Home: Songs of West Virginia” – Various Artists

the-road-home  Explore AllMusic’s “The Road Home: Songs of West Virginia” Commercial Website

      “The Road Home II: More Songs of West Virginia” – Various Artists


“West Virginia has a storied folk music history, and as music historian (and West Virginian) Scott Hill noticed, a lot of songs have been written about coming back to West Virginia, songs full of the kind of longing only a true home can inspire. Hill assembled and released a collection of various artists singing about coming home to West Virginia called The Road Home back in 2005, and this 2010 set is a second volume of similar songs, highlighted by Heidi Muller’s version of Hazel Dickens’ “West Virginia My Home” and Ron Sowell and Mira Stanley’s rendition of Utah Phillips’ “Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia,” among others. Home is where you dream of, and West Virginia has certainly inspired its share of dreams, and songs.” (Review from AllMusic)

Explore AllMusic’s “The Road Home II: More Songs of West Virginia” Commercial Website

“Sixteen Tons” – “Dark As a Dungeon” – “Loading Coal” – Johnny Cash

“Johnny Cash Show – 1×20 [Ep 20] – [Feb. 18 ’70]”         (7:48/2010/PeterRabbit59)


WV Music –  West Virginia Music

WV Arts – West Virginia Arts

WV State Songs – West Virginia State Songs

WV Dance – West Virginia Dance