Since the creation of her third bluegrass album, the critically acclaimed “Benny’s TV Repair,” Irene Kelley has enjoyed the success of four consecutive and long-lasting #1 singles, the first two having reached chart-topping positions well before the album’s official release in May 2019.
Forthcoming from this album will be the fifth single, “Hills of Home,” co-written with country music hit-maker and bluegrass icon, Ronnie Bowman.
The inspiration for the song can be traced back to 1982, when Irene played Ralph Stanley’s Hills of Home Festival in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia with her band at the time, Jerry Williamson & Redwing. As a 21-year-old girl, she recalls wandering the Stanley Festival grounds between shows, visiting Carter’s gravesite and imagining him getting inspiration in that hallowed place. These images stayed with Kelley, and she would eventually weave them, along with references to her home state of Pennsylvania, into a song.
A native of North Carolina’s Appalachia region, those nostalgic images hit home for Ronnie as well. When the two met up to write one morning in 2018, Irene shared her story with Ronnie, and they dug into the sentiments of missing home, the hustle and bustle of the modern world and longing for a simpler time. Their mountain roots, haunting melodies and perfect vocal blend shine on this pristine track produced by Kelley.
Between their busy travel and recording schedules, these two long-time friends have always managed to carve out time to collaborate on beautifully crafted and deeply personal songs. Their creation of Irene’s next release, “Hills Of Home,” is no exception.