"I wrote 'Southern Goodbyes' about a custom in the South that I learned from my grandmother. She lived in North Georgia near Lafayette and Dalton, where our family homestead is, about 15 miles outside of a town, and we lived two and a half hours from her. We had no family in Nashville, so when we visited her on holidays and during summers, it was always a special time that made lasting memories. We would hear the rolling of gravel in her driveway from the tires of family members dropping in to say, 'Hello!' Grandma would make her irreplaceable Baby Food Cake, and she always adored and petted the little ones of the family. Goodbyes were hard for her and for us. She lived alone and we knew that when we left to go home, she would be there missing us. After hugs, and parting jokes to keep up the levity, she would stand in the screen doorway or sit in a lawn chair under the carport and wave 'goodbye,' waiting till our car was 'gone out of sight' before she went inside and shut the door. Always, when we drove back to Nashville, we would call to tell her we were home, and if she called us first, she would want to know if we 'made it alright?'
I connect to my song tenderly because some of these 'goodbyes' are more lasting. My grandma is gone now, and so is my dad, who, although he was originally from Rhode Island, loved the South. It occurred to me that, regardless of whether you were born south of the Mason-Dixon line, everyone has to say these kind of 'goodbyes.' 'We all must say them as we end our lives with Southern Goodbyes.'"