Vince Gill's "Go Rest High on That Mountain" is one of the most beloved country songs of the past several decades, but in a new interview, the iconic singer-songwriter admits he's always "thought it was unfinished." Gill has written a new, final verse to the classic song, which he's been debuting for fans at his recent live performances.

The singer-songwriter and his wife, Amy Grant, perform a series of Christmas shows at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville every Christmas season, and Gill debuted the new verse during their 2019 dates.

Gill began writing the song after the death of Keith Whitley from alcohol poisoning in 1989, writing a first verse that acknowledged how difficult his life had been and name-checking one of his biggest hits.

"I know your life on Earth was troubled / And only you could know the pain / You weren't afraid to face the devil / You were no stranger to the rain," he wrote.

But as a casual friend to Whitley, he felt awkward about the song, Gill tells People. "And so I put it away."

Four years later, Gill's older brother, Bob, died after suffering a heart attack, and Gill revived the song, writing the emotional chorus and a second verse. The song reached No. 14, and it went on to win CMA and Grammy Awards. In the years since, it has become a staple at funerals and one of his most impactful songs, but Gill felt compelled to revisit the material recently.

“In all seriousness, as I looked at it as a piece of work, I thought it was unfinished in a way that a song should close the door and have an end and tell the whole story,” he relates.

The new verse closes the song on an even more powerful note of Christian redemption.

"You’re safely home in the arms of Jesus / Eternal life, my brother’s found / The day will come I know I’ll see him / In that sacred place, on that holy ground," he sings in the new rendition.

It's been well-received during Gill's recent shows. In fact, he says, “The whole place comes unglued."

Still, Gill realizes that it's a risk. “Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense, does it?” he reflects. “Yeah, ‘Leave it alone, you idiot!’ That should be my mantra. But in my heart, I think this makes it better.”

“I don’t really know if I have any intention of recording it with this third verse,” he states. “I was just sitting there thinking last night that if I take one of the [guitar] solos out of the original record and sing the third verse there, it would work. So I don’t have any idea of what’s to come of this other than I just did it. I’m going to start singing that last verse because I think it makes the song a lot better. Maybe I’m foolish, but I don’t think so.”

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