The Old Home Place

Originally Performed ByThe Dillards
Original AlbumBack Porch Bluegrass (1963)
Appears On
Music/LyricsDean Webb, Mitch Jayne
VocalsMike (lead), Page, Trey (backing)
Phish Debut1994-06-26
Last Played2023-07-28
Current Gap35
HistorianEllis Godard (Lemuria)
Last Update2019-06-05


It's the name of several folk songs, and at least one venue (in McClure, VA). But Phish fans know “The Old Home Place” as the tune by country icons and bluegrass progenitors, The Dillards. The tune’s narrator regrets having chased a woman from his rural farm into the burgeoning metropolis of Charlottesville, ultimately losing both the girl and his home. 

The Dillards, “The Old Home Place”

The title refers not only to the physical house left and lost, but also to the life left behind. Phish picked up the song as they turned another corner away from their old life. The debut, in West Virginia, started the encore to a show that had featured Gamehendge (nearly ten years old) as the first set and Hoist (recently released) as the second set. The latter debut helped emphasize the band’s transition from four-track recording in a dorm room to a nearly overproduced studio extravaganza.

Phish performed “The Old Home Place” as part of acoustic segments ten times, including 10/10/94 with Steve Cooley of The Dillards on banjo, 10/18/94 with Béla Fleck, 11/18/94 with “Reverend” Jeff Mosier, and 10/18/98 at Neil Young’s Bridge School benefit with Mike on banjo and Page on bass. Notable electric performances include 12/31/94 Boston Garden, 8/17/96 opening the second day of the Clifford Ball at roughly 4:20, 11/30/96 Sacramento with John McEuen on banjo, and on 4/3/98 Nassau Coliseum between “Mike’s Song” and “Weekapaug Groove”. 

Since Phish’s (first) hiatus, “The Old Home Place” has receded to rarity, appearing in only two shows in the 2.0 era: 7/21/03 at Deer Creek and 4/15/04 Vegas. Since their return in 2009 the performances have been infrequent, often with years in between. 

Phish, “The Old Home Place” – 10/18/98, Mountain View, CA

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