As early as the late 1930s, many people migrated out of the Appalachian region to larger northern cities hoping to find jobs at large factories (a trend still in place today). Mountain residents were often compelled to leave their homes in search of work, first because of mine closures and later over safety concerns related to strip mining and mountaintop removal practices.
Ralph Stanley’s song “Hills of Home” laments this pattern of leaving the home place. Hazel Dickens recorded the song on her 1986 album It’s Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song, recorded on Rounder Records.
“Can't you feel that touch of home?
And don't you wish you'd never gone?
There are some things memories can't bring home.
Hills of home, hills of home,
Families scattered off and gone.
These old hills that have been passed by,
Well, they've seen their share of leavin' in their time.”