Gram Parsons

A Homage to Gram Parsons (The Byrds): His Greatest Song “Hickory Wind”

Text by Bruce Gallanter (Downtown Music Gallery, May 6th, 2022)

“Hickory Wind” written by Gram Parsons and covered by The Byrds for Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Recorded in March of 1968 & released later that year.

In South Carolina
There are many tall pines
I remember the oak tree
That we used to climb
But now, when I’m lonesome
I always pretend
That I’m gettin’ the feel
Of hickory wind

I’d started out younger
Had most everything
All the riches and pleasures
What else can life bring?
But it makes me feel better
Each time it begin
Callin’ me home
Hickory wind

It’s a hard way to find out
That trouble is real
In a faraway city
With a faraway feel
But it makes me feel better
Each time it begins
Callin’ me home
Hickory wind
Keeps callin’ me home
Hickory wind

Both DMG manager Frank Meadows and myself are big fans of country rock. The Byrds are often considered to be the first prominent/influential rock band to play what would soon be called ‘country rock’.

The above song was written by Gram Parsons who joined the Byrds and recorded on their classic Sweetheart of the Rodeo album, released in August of 1968. This is where this classic song appeared for the first time. Gram Parsons left the Byrds after this album was released and took two other former Byrds members and started the Flying Burrito Brothers.

I still find this song immensely haunting every time I hear it. It is said that “Hickory Wind” was Gram Parsons’ greatest song and I believe that this to be true. Check the original version on the Byrds album or from a Gram Parson solo album called Grievous Angel (from 1974).