Appalachia Music

The Old Homeplace

The old homeplace by the pressley girls

The Old Homeplace

It’s been ten long years since I left my home
In the hollow where I was born
Where the cool fall nights makes the wood smoke rise
And the fox hunter blows his horn.

I fell in love with a girl from the town
I thought that she would be true
I ran away to Charlottesville
And worked in a sawmill or two.

What have you done to the old home place
Why did they tear it down
And why did I leave the plow in the fields
And look for the job in the town.

Well the girl ran off with somebody else
The taverns took all my pay
And here I stand where the old home stood
Before they took it away.

Now the geese fly south and the cold wind blows
As I stand here and hang my head
I’ve lost my love I’ve lost my home
And now I wish that I was dead.

What have you done to the old home place
Why did they tear it down
And why did I leave the plow in the fields
And look for the job in the town.


The song above was written by Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne. If you don’t recognize their names-just let your mind drift back to the Andy Griffith Show-more specifically The Darlings…who were really The Dillards.

I first fell in love with the song when I heard Tony Rice’s version. I was just a kid-but from the instant the words breathed themselves through my ears and into my brain I knew it carried a powerful message of woe.

As with many old songs, this one is written from the man’s point of view, which can throw up an obstacle for female crooners. I’ve heard many female singers leave the point of view-preferring to stay true to the original writer.

Chatter and Chitter have always been girls who walked to the beat of their own drum. The Pressley Girls never hesitate to change the gender of the song. Their reasoning: we all identify ourselves with the songs we love -no matter the gender point they are sung from. So if we’re already “changing” the words in our head why not change them as they come out of our mouths as well?

Although the girls slightly changed the words to the song-The Old Homeplace-it still packs a punch.

First-you leave home and all you’ve ever known.

Second-you realize that home wasn’t so bad after all.

Third-you meet someone who makes you feel a little better about your decision.

Fourth-that certain someone breaks your heart and leaves you at about the same time you realize home is where you need to be.

Fifth-you go home to find out it ain’t there no more.

Sixth-you wish you were dead.

On some level, everyone can identify with the message the song sends. Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne sliding such a powerful story of life between less than 3 minutes of music is an amazing feat of songwriting.


Hope you enjoyed The Pressley Girls’ version of The Old Homeplace.


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  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    July 6, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I am so happy that Chitter & Chatter are sticking close to the homeplace during their college years. Smart girls to understand the value of home!
    A song with the theme of home that I dearly love is Who Will Watch the Homeplace. It makes me ache when I hear it and long for my East Tennessee hills.
    Who Will Watch the Homeplace
    Author: Kate Long
    Leaves are falling and turning to showers of gold
    As the postman climbs up our long hill
    And there’s sympathy written all over his face
    As he hands me a couple more bills
    Who will watch the home place
    Who will tend my hearts dear space
    Who will fill my empty place
    When I am gone from here
    There’s a lovely green nook by a clear-running stream
    It was my place when I was quite small
    And it’s creatures and sounds could soothe my worst pains
    But today they don’t ease me at all
    In my grandfather’s shed there are hundreds of tools
    I know them by feel and by name
    And like parts of my body they’ve patched this old place
    When I move them they won’t be the same
    Now I wander around touching each blessed thing
    The chimney the tables the trees
    And my memories swirl ’round me like birds on the wing
    When I leave here oh who will I be

  • Reply
    July 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Great performance! When you are off to college, I hope we will still be able to enjoy your wonderful talents.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Great joy, girls!

  • Reply
    Mrs. K.
    July 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Wonderful rendition, girls.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Your ‘Pressley Girls’ did a great job
    with this one. Oh, how I’d like to go
    back to the Old Homeplace where I grew
    up! Nothing can take away those wonderful memories of youth…Ken

  • Reply
    July 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Great job as usual, we LOVE the Pressley Girls!

  • Reply
    Joyce Heishman
    July 6, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Haven’t we all done something in our youth, we deeply regret. But with God’s help, it all turns out like He plans

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    July 6, 2014 at 8:36 am

    This is the song that people refer to as the definition of bluegrass and old time… As in “do you mean like “”it’s been ten long years”” type of music?”
    I have not heard a version I didn’t enjoy.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Good job Girls.. MY old Home place is gone,, burned down a few years ago,, nothing left but memories now..

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 6, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Love the words to this song. And of course your rendition of this sad sad song.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 6, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Wow! The Pressley Girls did a fantastic job with that song. The gender switch went smoothly and their harmony if flawless.
    I love watching and hearing their talent develop!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 6, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Thanks, Chitter and Chatter, for your version of “The Old Homeplace.” The song always raises my level of nostalgia. Who among us doesn’t want to “go home again”? And oftentimes, like the words of the song indicate, when we go home, what we known is gone or has changed so much we can barely recognize it. Of such are the threads of life, But somehow we come through the tangle and move on.

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