Appalachia Music

Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts from the pressley girls

I’m sharing a video from The Pressley Girls this morning. They shared it on their facebook page earlier this week as a way of sending hope, love, and peace to Brasstown and beyond. I thought Blind Pig Readers might enjoy seeing it as well.

The first portion of the song is a Shaker Hymn written in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett. The girls learned it at the JCCFS. Recently, they discovered the rest of the song on the web-but I’m not sure when or who added the latter verses to the original song.


‘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.

‘Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
‘Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we’ll all live together and we’ll all learn to say,

‘Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
‘Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of me,
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we’ll all live together with a love that is real.


Hope you enjoyed the song!



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  • Reply
    August 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    B-it’s a pink thistle. And I have to admit I didn’t take the photo-Chatter did : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Janet Pressley
    August 24, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Absolutely beautiful!!! Janet Pressley

  • Reply
    August 24, 2015 at 10:55 am

    What a beautiful voices! Like angels! I know the first two verses, but the last two are so meaningful.

  • Reply
    Louise Baker
    August 24, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Just beautiful to hear ,Tis a gift! The girls are beautiful and the sound enriching. Made my day, thank you!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Ah! Such a beautiful set of words sung by two extra-ordinary gals. God bless your day!

  • Reply
    Sam Ensley
    August 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Great song, and the girls’ harmony was delightful.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    What an inspiration to hear your girls sing this lovely song. I listened, wondered what our praise team could do with it as well. Thank you for sharing such an uplifting message.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    If they could have continued the little bobbing thing they started at the beginning and kept straight faces, the video would gone viral.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 23, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Lovely song, beautiful words.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    August 23, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    So well done and what a message! Thank you for my Sunday inspiration ladies 🙂

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 23, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Finally got back on in time to hear the girls sing a wonderful song.
    Great job girls…
    And Tipper,
    What a beautiful “thistle” photo!
    Was it really that pink or was it a light lavender?
    Aren’t the nodding “thistles” something else! I know country folks that have cows, horses in the pasture aren’t supposed to love thistles, but I do.
    Have you ever gathered any of the dried pods and made “porcupines or hedgehogs” out of them…gluing the plastic shaky eyes on the fronts with the stem end for the nose…The bloom reminds me of the crafting days with children!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Lovely harmony – also, kinda cool that as the girls swayed to the music they often went up on their toes at the same time.
    Our church “band” (a loose interpretation of the word) sings “Simple Gifts” as well as “Lord of the Dance” (different lyrics to the same melody).
    Seems I read somewhere that Mr. Brackett was trying to write a song that would appeal to the young folk (sound familiar?) – even way back then when some of my great grandparents were first arriving in America. Can’t find the source of that idea at the moment but I’ll keep looking. In any case, he certainly did write a tune that has stood the test of time.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    August 23, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    The morning has slipped by and we have recalled another wonderful visit to the Old Court House in Blairsville and a wonderful group entertaining us in a very creative style from years ago – with old songs from my list of favorite tunes.
    I have sent a note to one of your FANS! I hope she will understand my keen interest in the topic!
    Cheers, Eva Nell

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Those girls can really sing, with
    or without music. I can just imagine what it’s like at your
    house, bet it’s a riot! I got girls
    too (grown now) but I remember.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    What a joyous song..thanks for sharing…the girls sang it beautifully…

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 23, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I have been whistling that tune off and on all my life. I don’t know where I learned it and didn’t even know it had words. Now if I can find a entrance way with a big steel door and knotty white pine paneling, I could sing it too. Not!
    It is a beautiful day that starts with a beautiful tune, beautiful words and two beautiful twin songstresses.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 23, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    lovely hymn. I first heard this melody in Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring. So moving.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Wonderful! thank you

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 11:08 am

    So true! It is a gift to have friends and think of others and not just of yourself. It’s a gift to hear the girls singing so beautiful this morning!

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    August 23, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Thanks to the girls for the gift that they shared this morning. Beautiful girls, beautiful singing and beautiful words.
    I know that I am loved when one of the little great grands Pre-K, came to see me and hugged my leg and said, “Nannie, I’m so sorry about you leg”.
    Here I was moaning and groaning with my broke leg and wishing I could take off this cam boot and walk with out dragging this heavy thing along on my crutches and walker and have a good nights sleep and not have to have it on my leg and foot in the bed. I wish I could drive my car. Then I remembered what my daughter, who is a PT at the Tsalie Care Center in Birdtown said one day. “Mom be glad it wasn’t your hip!”
    Love in Christ to all. Thanks
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    Eleanor L. Ohio
    August 23, 2015 at 10:41 am

    What a lovely song and how nicely the girls harmonize. I have an idea they would do equally well on some of the older hymns that we heard years ago.
    Thanks for this treat.
    8-23-15 at 10:40 on a Sunday morning after church
    [email protected]
    Eleanor L., Ohio

  • Reply
    Steve in to
    August 23, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Nice song with a good message. I always am reminded of how previous generations found joy in simple things before we smothered ourselves in “things”.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Very well done.. thanks Girls..

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 23, 2015 at 8:07 am

    I loved and was greatly blessed by hearing “Simple Gifts” this morning! How wonderful to hear Chatter and Chitter harmonize so well on it, and to hear it a capella, too, as the Shakers sang it! I remember hearing it years ago when we visited Shakertown! Thank you and keep singing! (I know they will; they have a song–they have music inborn!)

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 23, 2015 at 7:50 am


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