Roger McGuinn, who added Gram Parsons to the Byrds lineup for Sweetheart of the Rodeo, considered this haunting evocation of a Southern childhood — written by Parsons during a cross-country train trip from Florida to L.A. — to be his best song. Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers mainstay Chris Hillman concurred: "If Gram had never written another song, 'Hickory Wind' would've put him on the map. If you know the guy's life story, however he conjured up that scenario, it's right at home. Gram was shuffled off to prep school, lots of money … that's a lonely song. He was a lonely kid."