His brother, Earl, said that Cool Water was first written as a poem when Bob attended high school in Tucson, Arizona and he added the music when he helped to found The Sons of the Pioneers. Nolan himself wrote later: “I don’t think there’s any philosophy behind it. I was strictly trying to paint a picture of the desert. After I was through, you couldn’t help but know that I was talking about a mirage.” The Sons of the Pioneers hit the charts twice with the song, once at No. 25, and later at No. 9 when they recorded it in 1948 with Vaughn Monroe. Cool Water won a Grammy Award in 1986, six years after Nolan’s death.