The Greenville Trestle

The Streamline Cannon Ball

I’m sharing another entry from our 2020 Train Series over on Youtube.

Paul recorded a couple of train songs with our dear friend Sonny Reighard and today I’m sharing one of them with you.

Sonny looms large on the music scene of Western North Carolina. Pap always said Sonny was one of the best entertainers there was, not to mention a solid musician and singer. Be sure to stick around till the end of the video to enjoy some of Sonny’s entertaining ways.

Here’s what Paul had to say about the video:

“In this video, you’ll learn a little more about Sonny’s background, musically and otherwise. This song is one of the best train songs I’ve ever heard, written (I believe) by a NC resident who was a truck driver who later became a Spanish teacher. Doc Watson popularized the song. Before anyone busts our chops too hard about deviating from the lyrics or arrangement that Doc did, please remember that this was one take, with us just agreeing to meet in a location and tearing loose on the song without practice. When this year’s train series has disappeared on down the track, I hope to upload a few more songs that I did with Sonny that day, mostly written by his family. Watch for a link at the end of this video that will take you to another video of Sonny performing with one of his bands that someone uploaded. If you search YouTube, you can find several more. “

I hope you enjoyed Paul and Sonny as much as I did!


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  • Reply
    Don Byers
    November 22, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Good job….good song..

  • Reply
    Gina Smith
    November 22, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Your website is my happy place. A thousand thanks!

  • Reply
    November 22, 2020 at 11:42 am

    I did enjoy Paul and Sonny singing and their conversation! We had a train that ran a little West of our town and one that ran East of our town. I sure can remember as a teen, summer nights when we had our windows open and I was just drifting off to sleep when I could hear the train in the distance. Fast forward to today, and some summer nights I can hear a train that runs nears us just faintly. It is some how a comforting train whistle.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 22, 2020 at 9:45 am

    I think both you and Doc got it wrong. From what I can gather I it was “The Green Hill Trestle” or The Green Hill Trestle High” written by Jimmy Jett. Now I might be totally wrong. I have been wrong before. Once. That was when I thought I was wrong but I was right.
    The two of you did a fantastic job on the song either way. I know I not wrong about! And as to it being one take, that’s what makes it real. Most music these days is “manufactured” and refined to a point where it doesn’t seem real anymore.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      November 22, 2020 at 9:55 am

      “I know I’m not wrong about that” is what I wanted to say! Why does my computer anticipate what I am going to say? Unless I catch it, it changes what I intended to say? It might be good for writing with your thumbs on a phone but I like writing like I think which can’t be anticipated by a machine.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 22, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Around the US there are many towns named “Greenville” so a lot of people can think it is ‘their’ Greenville. Maybe that’s why Doc Watson changed it. Greeneville TN likes to point out that they are unique with the 3 “e”s. I wonder how much the names are about green the color or a namesake of General Nathaniel Greene the Revolutionary War soldier.

    Anyway, the ‘not the same anymore’ gets more true for us all all the time. I am living in the past in my head a little more and a little more as time goes by. Another one of those things that as young people we made light of. But one of those things you don’t understand until you get there. And then you understand you can’t transfer it to youngsters because it needs a lot of living behind it.

    • Reply
      November 22, 2020 at 5:52 pm

      Ron, I know what you mean when you say it is not the same anymore. I find myself thinking of the past more and more and longing to go back to that time. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, but I think if I told the truth I am having problems with depression especially after the death of my daughter. Thinking of the past and how it used to be seems to bring relief.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 22, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Tipper–Sonny and Ken Roper live in the same area (Topton) and it’s small enough that they have to know one another. That brings me to ask what you hear from Ken’s recovery?
    Beyond that, Sonny is clearly one of those delightful mountain figures who is a joy to be around, and I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of today’s “episode.”

    Jim Casada

    • Reply
      November 22, 2020 at 9:52 am

      Jim-Ken and Sonny do know each other! Ken is at home now and continuing to improve.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2020 at 8:06 am

    I love this.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 22, 2020 at 7:26 am

    Nice job on the song and I sure enjoyed listening to Sonny talk about his experience!

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    November 22, 2020 at 6:48 am

    I hope you enjoyed Paul and Sonny as much as I did! DITTO!

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