“Smokey Mountain Rain” by Ronnie Milsap
40 Days of Country – Song #25 – Lent 2016
With over 40 number one hits and six Grammy awards, the career of Ronnie Milsap, which primarily spanned through the 1970’s and 1980’s, is not only marked by acclaim; the singer-songwriter and pianist is also one of country music’s first blind artists to successfully cross-over into the pop and r&b charts. Abandoned by his mother as an infant in North Carolina, Milsap was raised by his grandparents in the Smokey Mountain region, which served as inspiration for one of his most recognizable songs.
In 1980, Milsap released, “Smoky Mountain Rain,” which became his first song that landed in the number one spot on both the country and adult-contemporary Billboard charts. In 2010, Tennessee elected to name the song as one of the state’s eight official songs. The song tells the autobiographical tale of the narrator who left his lover at home to test the fast-life out west, only to realize to late that he never should have left and his love didn’t wait around, hence the hook, “Smoky Mountain rain keeps on fallin’. I keep on callin’ her name…she’s somewhere in the Smoky Mountain rain.”
Jesus tells a similar tale in Luke 15 in the parable commonly referred to as “The Prodigal Son,” only, instead of leaving romance behind, it was his family that was abandoned when, “The younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living,” (v13). However, unlike in Milsap’s tune, when the young man decided to return home, “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him,” (v20). As Christians, we can be confident that know matter where we go or what we do, we will never travel too far away from God, and when we make the decision to repent, to change our attitudes and our behaviors, Jesus Christ will always be there waiting to embrace us with open arms.
Merciful Savior, forgive us for all the times we have strayed from your path, following our own desires instead of your will. Teach us repentance, and strengthen our resolve to walk in your way. Amen.