Family Reflects on Historic Song’s Legacy
This weekend a Northwest Arkansas foundation will hold its first ever “Shindig” honoring the World’s most celebrated gospel song of all time.
It’s been 80 years since Albert E. Brumley wrote the hymn “I’ll Fly Away.”
“Grandpa actually came up with it while working in a cotton field in Oklahoma, and he saw some birds fly away and he thought, ‘Oh, if had the wings of an angel, I can fly away,’” said Albert Brumley’s granddaughter, Betsy Brumley-Bernier.
Over the years, it`s been performed by numerous artists.
“It’s harder to find somebody who hasn’t recorded it than who has,” said Brumley-Bernier.
Alison Krauss, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, and Alan Jackson have all recorded their own versions of the song.
“It’s the most recorded song ever, every genre, ever—pop, gospel, bluegrass, country—most recorded song,” added Brumley-Bernier.
Betsy is now living out his dream with the I’ll Fly Away Foundation.
“It’s basically about preservation and education, the older songs that we all grew up with. Our children, if we don’t teach them, they won’t know them. It’s kind of our history, because songs tell stories.”
Albert Brumley wrote more than 800 songs, all about his life, a memory that Betsy holds close to her heart.
“I think about him lying on his coach, writing, because he would lay back and he would put his foot over the back and just write, and he would write on anything—popsicle stick, piece of paper—didn’t matter. He would write on anything.”
The “Shindig” is Saturday night at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers.
It will feature multi-platinum and Grammy award winning artists.
Click here for more information about the event, ticket prices and the I’ll Fly Away Foundation.