I’m heading to Shenandoah Valley this weekend for three days of bonhomie, BBQ and fly fishing with the family. I couldn’t help but find myself humming the familiar tune that I learned in an Ohio middle school.

“The lyrics may tell the story of a roving trader in love with the daughter of an Indian Chief; in this interpretation, the rover tells the chief of his intent to take the girl with him far to the west, across the Missouri River. Other interpretations tell of a pioneer’s nostalgia for the Shenandoah River Valley, or of a Confederate soldier in the Civil War dreaming of his country home in Virginia. The song is also associated with escaped slaves. They were said to sing the song in gratitude because the river allowed their scent to be lost.”

Here are three renditions–which one do you like?


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