"Houses On The Hill" as written by and Caitlin Cary Ryan Adams....
Well I found a bunch of letters
That were written for the fellow who broke your momma's heart
And the envelope folds smelled of her ancient perfume
I'll bet she didn't know
How to respond before the blankets of snow
Caught him out wandering alone
With no place to go

There were stars in the sky
There were houses on the hill
And there bottles of pills that were easy to buy
To keep her warm from the oncoming storm

Well I found them in the northwest corner of the attic in a box
Labeled tinsel and lights
Didn't know what I was I looking for
Maybe just a blanket or artifacts
Eisenhower sent him to war
He kept her picture in his pocket that was closest to his heart
And when he hit shore
Must have been a target for the gunman

There were stars in the sky
There were bunkers on the hill and there were caskets to fill
Where he will lie
Shrouded in the red white and blue with the stripes

There were stars in the sky
There were houses on the hill
And there were bottles of pills that were easy to buy
To keep her warm from the oncoming storm


Lyrics submitted by rosyquill

"Houses on the Hill" as written by Ryan Adams Caitlin Cary

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Houses On The Hill song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentone of the saddest songs i've ever heard - a woman's husband was killed in ww2 and she ended up marrying someone else and having kids (who found the box of letters) but she always loved her ww2 hero husband
    jacbowlon June 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentRyan (while with WT) said in an interview at World Café that he had the idea for this song after searching his ex-girlfriends' attic and finding some letters hidden away in a desk that belonged to her Mother. Her lover, died in WW2 and she never got over it, as many of you have already said.
    ysgwrnon July 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow, it seems so obvious now. I Can't believe I didn't pick that up. Thanks
    iam-meon July 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell done jacbowl. A terribly moving song. perfectly constructed with a saddest fiddle you've ever heard.
    cmckinleyon August 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis IS one of the best songs ever written, sung and played. at least in my book.
    fockeron December 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou are absolutely right about it being about a World War II veteran. I really like the line:

    "he kept her picture in his pocket that was closest to his heart
    and when he hit shore
    must have been a target for the gunman"

    Must have been a target for the gunman, gets me everytime.
    alleyson February 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust heard this song for the first time last night...blew me away. So I'm assuming the letters he found we written to the woman's house for the man who was away at war and she didn't know how to respond because he was possibly dead, so she just packed them away.

    My favorite part is the "there were stars in the sky, there were bunkers on the hill and caskets to fill where he would lie, shrouded in the red, white and blue with the stripes"...wow.

    It's really powerful how you don't know that the man broke her heart by dying until the end.
    z4ckm0rrison January 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthmm. before reading this, i thought they were letters about two former lovers, one that died in a snow storm, the other in a war. maybe i'm being too literal and the reference to "blankets of snow" refers to the white light that draws you while dying.
    spelzyon January 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningPeople use the word "sad" a lot when referring to this song but I see it as one of the most realistic songs he's ever written.

    He used his imagination and put himself in the shoes of this woman who he said had all these letters from her beloved husband, a soldier of WWII, and just the agony and pain she went through when she lost him fighting for his country. What she went through and what she felt... How it happened...

    "...there were bottles of pills...to keep her from the oncoming storm." - how more real can you possibly get. Such a powerful line. "Oncoming storm" is yet another classic description of exactly what this woman was headed towards time and time and time again. Over and over and over repeatedly.

    This is a song when he got done writing it, I can see him saying, "yessssssss."

    Out of the countless number of songs Ryan has written or been a part of, this is in my Top 3. It's short, sweet, and above all - powerful.

    Here's a cover I did of it:
    youtube.com/…
    watkins11on November 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningPeople use the word "sad" a lot when referring to this song but I see it as one of the most realistic songs he's ever written.

    He used his imagination and put himself in the shoes of this woman who he said had all these letters from her beloved husband, a soldier of WWII, and just the agony and pain she went through when she lost him fighting for his country. What she went through and what she felt... How it happened...

    "...there were bottles of pills...to keep her from the oncoming storm." - how more real can you possibly get. Such a powerful line. "Oncoming storm" is yet another classic description of exactly what this woman was headed towards time and time and time again. Over and over and over repeatedly.

    Out of the countless number of songs Ryan has written or been a part of, this is in my Top 3. It's short, sweet, and above all - powerful. This is a song when he got done writing it, I can see him saying, "yessssssss."

    My cover: youtube.com/…
    watkins11on November 21, 2012   Link

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