The Inspiration Behind "Go Rest High on That Mountain" is Vince Gill's Brother

"So go rest high on that mountain / Son, your work on earth is done"

Brandon Charles - Author

Feb. 19 2024, Published 9:49 a.m. ET

Vince Gill and Amy Grant
Source: Getty Images

Vince Gill and Amy Grant

Country music legend Vince Gill has been performing publicly since 1983 and has as many hit songs as years performing. With more than 40 charting songs as a solo artist and duets with wife Amy Grant, the two have been musical fixtures in music lovers' lives for decades.

However, none of Vince's songs may be more personal than his 1995 massive hit, “Go Rest High on That Mountain.”

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The inspiration for one of Vince's biggest hits, “Go Rest High on That Mountain,” a song that won Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song at the 38th Grammy Awards in 1996, Country Music Association Awards' Song of the Year award in 1996, a BMI Most-Performed Song award in 1997 and named No.17 on Rolling Stone's ranking of the 40 Saddest Country Songs of All Time, is about Vince's half-brother Bob Coen.

Vince Gill and Amy Grant
Source: Getty Images

Vince Gill and Amy Grant

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So, what happened to Bob Coen? Vince's art was birthed from tragedy.

According to Wide Open Country, Vince started working on the song in 1989 after the death of fellow country music star Keith Whitley. Vince wasn’t able to finish the song until his older brother Bob passed away from a heart attack in 1993.

Vince recorded and included the song on 1994’s "When Love Finds You," his sixth album. It was released as a single on August 28, 1995, the sixth single from the 4x platinum record.

Source: YouTube

The song begins, “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.” Vince is joined by fellow country superstar singers Patty Loveless and Ricky Skaggs for the chorus.

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Vince added a new verse about his brother to the song in 2019.

According to Genius, Vince has been singing a new, third verse to the song since December 2019. He debuted the new verse at his annual Christmas concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

The song is already a touching tribute to a loved, lost one. When you hear Vince introduce the song, it becomes more powerful.

“When somebody leans on one of your songs when they’re going through a really rough stretch, that means a little bit more than anything else you could imagine," Vince says.

Vince’s new final verse for “Go Rest High on That Mountain” is, “You're safely home in the arms of Jesus / Eternal life, my brother's found / The day will come, I know I'll see you / That sacred place on that Holy ground.”

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Bob was Vince's first musical partner.

Vince’s brother played a large musical role in his life. According to the 1995 book, For the Music: The Vince Gill Story by author Jo Sgammato, Bob was also fond of playing guitar and the two performed together publicly when Vince was just 8 years old.

Later in the book, Vince says, “He got dealt what he got dealt, but he never complained. And he showed me more character with nothing than most people who have everything."

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