Vince Gill performs onstage
Mark Humphrey/ Associated Press

'Go Rest High on That Mountain': The Story Behind Vince Gill's Majestic Song


Advertisement

Country music star Vince Gill has an arsenal of incredibly moving songs ranging from covers of gospel classics "How Great Thou Art" and "Amazing Grace" to "When I Call Your Name" and duets like "The Lucky One" with Alison Krauss. But there's something special about "Go Rest High On That Mountain." The song was released in 1995 as a single from his album When Love Finds You. Gill started writing the song years before, after the death of country music superstar Keith Whitley in 1989.

Following the death of his older brother Bob, who died from a heart attack in 1993, Gill finally finished the sheet music for the touching song. The final recording, released with MCA Nashville, was rounded out by background vocals by Patty Loveless and Ricky Skaggs who also appeared in the official music video. Listening to the song, you can tell how much passion and pain Gill put into the lyrics that focus on death and wishing those that have passed on the best when they go to God. You can watch the full video below.

During Gill's Christmas at the Ryman Nashville residency with his wife Amy Grant, the singer-songwriter began performing an additional verse of his classic song.

Advertisement

"In all these years of singing that song, truthfully, it felt just the slightest bit incomplete to me," Gill said while introducing the song. "I always thought it needed to tie itself up in some way...I didn't know if this was a good idea or not, but I wrote one more verse for this song. I'm debuting it here at the Ryman auditorium. I love this place. It's my church."

The lyrics to the new verse are as follows:

"You're safely home in the arms of Jesus / Eternal life, my brother's found / The day will come I know I'll see him / In that sacred place, on that holy ground."

Advertisement

"In all seriousness, as I looked at it as a piece of work, I thought it was unfinished in a way that a song should close the door and have an end and tell the whole story," Gill told People.

This eulogic ballad, which has become a popular memorial service song over the years, brought in multiple awards after its release. It was the CMA Awards song of the year in 1996 and won two Grammy Awards including Best Country Song.

Gill performed the song with Patty Loveless at the funeral of fellow country artist George Jones. The performance is incredibly moving. You can see the emotion in Gill's performance, even when Patty has to take over, so he concentrates on his guitar playing. Members of the audience are seen crying in the audience at the Grand Ole Opry performance (if we're honest, I teared up just watching the video).

Advertisement

'Go Rest High On That Mountain' Lyrics

I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and Son

Advertisement

You're safely home in the arms of Jesus
Eternal life, my brother's found
The day will come I know I'll see him
In that sacred place, on that holy ground

READ MORE: Vince Gill Through the Years: A Modern Country Icon's Life in Photos

Related Videos