The Sweetest Land Outside of Heaven

I published this post back in 2013. I’ve been enjoying Pap and Paul’s lovely harmony on the song Kentucky over the last few weeks and thought I’d share it with you again. They make it sound like a lullaby.

Pap and Paul picking and grinning


Paul and Pap picking in the backyard

“Karl [Davis] and Harty [Taylor] recorded the song [“Kentucky”] first in January 1941 for the Columbia label, and the record was especially popular with lonely southern servicemen who found themsleves thousands of miles from the land they loved. But in 1947 the Blue Sky Boys (the Bolick Brothers) recorded the song, and it really became a bestseller, reportedly running up sales of almost half a million copies; it has since been recorded by dozens of country singers, including later Kentucky groups like the Osborne Brothers and the Everly Brothers. On the strength of its beauty, and its popularity, Karl Davis [who wrote the song] was made a Kentucky Colonel in 1970. It was one of the few tokens of recognition he received in later life for his immense contributions to country music.” (Charles Wolfe, Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky, University Press of Kentucky, 1982, p. 56)

Pap and Paul have been singing the song Kentucky for many years. Pap says we try to do to many songs-but we all agree there’s just so many songs out there that need doing!

As we add new songs to our repertoire, some of the old standbys inadvertently fall by the wayside. A few weeks ago, Paul and Pap pulled Kentucky out of their hats and dusted it off to see if they could still do that high sweet harmony. Turns out they could.

The quote at the beginning of this post mentions the variety of performers who have recorded the song Kentucky over the years. My personal favorite is The Louvin Brothers-but a mighty close second would be Pap and Paul’s version. Hope you enjoyed the song.


*Source: Charles Wolfe, Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky, University Press of Kentucky, 1982, p. 56

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  • Reply
    Debbie Nixon
    August 25, 2019 at 1:41 am

    I love their singing they have the sweetest harmony it’s just a sound i will never get tired of listening to and won’t quit listening to as long as i live. Thank you for sharing this song kentucky even though I am from Arkansas and they are a sports rival of mine.

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    August 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Beautiful! What a nice photo too!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 22, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Loved hearing the video again of Pap and Paul playing and singing “Kentucky.” It manages to gather the feeling of homesickness into the strings and the strains of voice to make it superb and almost “cryable.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 21, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    B. Ruth – Paul is in fine voice and has a new video on YouTube. If you find it, have your Kleenex ready. That’s all I will say.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    As a Kentuckian living in the beautiful Kentucky mountains, I really, really enjoyed this! Thank you for sharing it again!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 21, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    It’s rain again here! I tried to turn it your way but it just keeps coming back.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    The picture of Pap and Ben playing their instruments in the shade is a classic. And I use to hear Paul and Pap sing “Kentucky” and many others, before it turned into a Christian Radio Station. …Ken

  • Reply
    August 21, 2016 at 11:32 am

    It’s so nice to have these videos for sharing, not only to those of us but to the Grandkids and in the future Great-Grandkids.. priceless..

  • Reply
    August 21, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Thanks for filling our Kentucky home with such sweet harmony on this sunny Sunday! Pap and Paul are the best!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 21, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I loved this when you posted In back in 2013 and still love it. Great picture!
    How, is Paul doing? I know he misses his best singing buddy!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    August 21, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Pap & Paul like the Louvin Brothers show there is something special about the “Family Harmony” that’s hard to beat. The “Picking” as usual for Pap & Paul is great. Thanks for sharing again.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2016 at 9:57 am

    This just made my day! How beautiful their voices and their playing are!

  • Reply
    August 21, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Lovely – plaintively hopeful.

  • Reply
    August 21, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Hi Tipper,What a neat picture of Pap and Paul. The song is beautiful! God Bless.Jean

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 21, 2016 at 8:15 am

    I did some work at plants in Kentucky (Hopkinsville & Russellville area) this past week. Nice area, but not nearly as close to Heaven as right here at home.
    Unlike us, they’ve had way too much rain this summer. There are fields of corn needing harvesting, but it’s too wet to get in. Of course we’ve had nice rains here the last couple of days.

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    August 21, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Thanks Tipper.Enjoyed.Don’t know how you keep up.I’m retired and barely can.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 21, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Oh Yes! That is some nice harmony!

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