American folk sings have been in existence for years; therefore, it is quite possible to see them having many lyrics. "Sourwood Mountain" is in this same category, and there is numerous lyrical version Extant with certain commonalities. It has a theme that laments over the narrator's true love and how he was separated from her. The title was extracted from the first line of the song lyrics. The song's style was written in a rhyming couplet that had interspersion of nonsense refrains. You can place the song among the classic among the traditional mountain song that is common to the southern Appalachians. Variants of the sing were collected by Cecil Sharp, Frank Brown, Bascomb Lunsford and other folklorists in the early 1900s. All of them were from across North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and even Missouri. It is commonly classed as dance music or with play-party sings. A school of thought proposed that these variations exist because of the singer's attempt to imitate the bao sound form the original version.