Oh boy, where do I even start with “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”? This song is a classic, and for good reason. It’s been covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to The Staple Singers to Willie Nelson, and each rendition brings its own unique flavor to the table. Which is a major reason why I wanted to cover it too.
I recently performed it in my Clyde Boots live stream but it’s always been a favorite in my family.
But let’s back up for a second. What even is “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”? Well, it’s a gospel song that’s been around for over a century. The original version was written by Ada R. Habershon and Charles H. Gabriel in 1907, but it’s been adapted and changed over the years.
The song is about the circle of life, and how even though loved ones may pass on, the circle remains unbroken. It’s a comforting message that’s resonated with people for generations.
Now, let’s talk about some of the different versions of the song. The Carter Family is perhaps the most famous group to record “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Their version is stripped down and raw, with just acoustic guitar, autoharp, and vocals. It’s a haunting rendition that really captures the emotional weight of the lyrics.
But then you’ve got the Staple Singers’ version, which is a totally different take on the song, but it’s just as powerful in its own way and it gets my foot tapping in my cowboy boots.
But my personal favorite version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” has to be the one by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. They recorded a version in the 1970s that features a huge lineup of musicians, from Merle Travis to Doc Watson to Earl Scruggs. It’s a beautiful, sprawling rendition that really captures the sense of community and togetherness that the song is all about.
And let’s not forget about the lyrics themselves. There are some truly beautiful lines in this song. “There’s a better home a-waiting / In the sky, Lord, in the sky” is a particularly poignant one. And of course, the chorus is iconic: “Will the circle be unbroken / By and by, Lord, by and by / There’s a better home a-waiting / In the sky, Lord, in the sky.”
But what’s really interesting to me about “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is how it’s been adapted over the years. It’s been covered by artists in all different genres, from country to rock to gospel to folk. And each time, the song takes on new life.
“Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is a classic song that’s been covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to a death metal band. It’s a beautiful, emotional song that’s stood the test of time, and it’s fascinating to see how different artists have adapted it over the years.