The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music


Hills of Roane County

In the beautiful hills way back in Roane County
There's where I've roamed for many long years
There's where my heart's been tender most ever
There's where the first step of misfortune I made

I was thirty years old when I courted and married
When Amanda Gilbraith was then called my wife
Her brother stabbed me for some unknown reason
Just three months later I'd taken Tom's life

For twenty-five years this whole world I rambled
I went to old England, to France and to Spain
I thought of my home way back in Roane County
I boarded a steamer and came home again

I was captured and tried in the village of Kingston
Not a man in that county would speak a kind word
When the jury came in with the verdict next morning
"A lifetime in prison" were the words that I heard

When the train pulled out, my mother stood weeping
And sister she sat alone with a sigh
And the last words I heard was "Willy God bless you"
Was "Willy God bless you, God bless you, good bye"

No matter what happens to me in Roane County
No matter how long my sentence may be
Boys when you write home from the prison in Nashville
Place one of my songs in your letter for me

Available in these books:

Big Print Songs
Over 200 songs.
Family Tradition
The reference manual, with lyrics to 330 songs.
Featuring large-print lyrics (20-point type) and chords, historical info, jamming hints, and more.

A song from the The ToneWay Mountain Music Collection, which offers lyrics and free Song Clips (recordings for learning the song by ear) for nearly 400 traditional songs, many of which are often heard in bluegrass and old-time jam circles. The ToneWay Project also offers songbooks, CDs, and a free online video series for learning to play music by ear. http://ToneWay.com