Music

Country Roads Feel Like Summer

Country Roads Take Me Home

Country roads feel like summer. Maybe it’s because folks go for more visits in the summer time. Heading down the highway to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, and any other kin you may find along the way seems to fit perfectly into the slower pace of summer days with the kids out of school and the weather sending its own invitation to be out and about.

I haven’t a clue where I was at or how old I was the first time I heard John Denver’s recording of Take Me Home Country Roads. I know without a doubt I fell in love with the song the instant I heard it. Even my young ears recognized the powerful pull of home the song evokes in hearts and minds.

Up until a few months ago, I assumed John Denver wrote the song about the memories he had surrounding his childhood in West Virginia. Turns out Denver wasn’t from West Virginia nor did he write the song.

Once The Pressley Girls begin singing the song I googled around and found the following information on the NPR Music Articles website.

NPR Music Articles – At 40, ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ Still Belongs

Denver first heard “Take Me Home, Country Roads” in the Washington, D.C., apartment of songwriter Bill Danoff. Danoff and his girlfriend, Taffy Nivert — also his writing partner — had met Denver years earlier, first when Danoff was working at the famous Cellar Door nightclub, and again on later tours through Washington.

Later, when Denver was passing through the city, he arranged to meet at Danoff’s apartment after a performance. Denver almost never showed. He was injured in a car accident on the way over and taken to the hospital with a broken thumb. But he proceeded to Danoff’s anyway.

‘That’s A Hit Song’

Denver asked to hear what Danoff and Nivert had been working on. Nivert urged Danoff to play the “Country Roads” song, which he’d been working on for several months, but he hesitated.

“I said, ‘He won’t like that. It’s not his thing, you know, because it’s for Johnny Cash,’ ” Danoff said in an interview.

At the time, Danoff and Nivert were only local performers. But they aimed to make it big by writing a hit song for bigger artists.

“So I played him what I had of ‘Country Roads,’ and he said, ‘Wow! That’s great, that’s a hit song! Did you record it?’ I said, ‘No, we don’t have a record deal,’ ” Danoff said.

He said Denver told him that they could record it together. And, several months later, they went up to New York City and did it. Danoff’s first reaction to the recording was not positive.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my God. There’s way too much echo on that,’ ” he said. “I loved the song, but I thought we’d blown the record. And millions of other people didn’t agree.”

By August, the song had reached No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart.

———–

It was actually Russel Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out’s version of Country Roads that inspired the girls to learn the song. Ben, my nephew who’s moved off up north to make his way in the world, sent me the link to the video sometime last year. At the time I wondered if he was feeling homesick for the country roads of his youth.

While Ben and his brother Mark were home for Thanksgiving we all got together and filmed the song. Even though it was chilly outside with winter winds surely headed our way, I closed my eyes as they practiced and felt hot summer dirt under my feet while the sound of jar flies, buzzing bees, and slamming screen doors echoed just beyond the sound of the music.

The line that pulls at my heart the most is: Driving down the road I get a feeling that I should have been home yesterday, yesterday. Isn’t that how it goes sometimes? We finally find the time to go back to something we’ve always loved and then we ask ourselves why we waited so long?

Hope you enjoyed the video!

Tipper

 

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Charles Howell
    August 24, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Great Song. I’ve heard it played & sung by Locals on Bald Knob in the Cheat Mountains of West Virginia. The people of Cass and the tourists love it. I feel I’ve had the best of two worlds, North Carolina’s Smokey Mountains and West Virginia. I am reminded that the Appalachians are one Ancient Mountain Range, I’ve heard stretching from Cuba to Newfoundland, Geologically speaking. My ancestry is N. C. I was born in W. Va.

    I’ve been thinking about a Country place
    The memory won’t be erased
    I’m in a West Virginia State of Mind

    Momma making Pinto Beans
    Patching up my old Blue Jeans
    Log train slowly moving down the line

    Yes, I’m in a Rambling state of mind
    Big City just can’t hold my kind
    I’m gonna take the Road that leads back Home

    Somewhere South of Baltimore
    Lies the place I’m Longing for
    West Virginia you’ve been on my mind
    Ain’t no place I’d rather be
    Your Spirit’s Wild Your Spirit’s Free
    Yes I’m in a West Virginia state of mind

  • Reply
    Janet Pressley
    June 24, 2015 at 2:31 am

    Beautiful!! Enjoyed your take on it! Janet

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    June 15, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Big sigh- I was actually in West Virginia when you posted this, Tipper. This song always makes me so sentimental, there’s nothing quite like a WV country road.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    June 7, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    When I was married and lived in Atlanta, we drove up north to Northwestern PA once or twice a year. Back then, many of the interstates hadn’t been built other than I-95 which would have put us in PA on the wrong side of the state, so we generally opted for Highway 19 which runs through Atlanta and also through my hometown, Erie, PA. It was a long beautiful drive, especially through the Shenandoah River Valley, and I remember when we hit West Virginia, usually around the Bluefield area, either he or I would remember where we were and start singing that song. West Virginia was the last state before PA. Once we got past West Virginia, we only had a couple hundred more miles to go and singing made the trip go faster. Good thing we were both passable singers, well…at least back then we were. LOL
    Thanks for the memories.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    June 7, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Love that song and loved John Denver. We were listening to his greatest hits CD yesterday and that song was on it. The girls did a great job!
    Pam
    scrap-n-sewgranny.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Ken
    June 7, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Tipper,
    Kinda gits ya, don’t it? I love
    Country Roads and the Pressley Girls and their cousins do a real
    Justice to it. I think John Denver
    and the couple who wrote Country
    Roads would be pleased.
    Nice lookin’ garden and so clean!
    …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 7, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    That illusive idea of ‘home’; that compound of people, place and people+place that makes something more that just the sum of the parts. I think what we blend together to call home comes from our childhood years, between age 6 to 13 or so, before responsibilities begin to weigh. And we ever after can feel a tug back to what one poet called “those lamb white days”.Some things, like that song, re-awaken that desire that never really sleeps too soundly. Yet we know there is no real going back, that we have changed, the place has changed and the people have changed or gone. And that also adds value to ‘home.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 7, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Tipper,
    Love the song as well…the girls did a great job as well as the musicians.
    Beautiful garden….ours is weedy. Better half is trying to catch up today…before us going back to the hospital…
    Hope Pap is continuing to improve..so he can break beans…lol…tell him he can’t get out of all the garden work…
    He is such a nice guy as well as Crochet Granny…”Crochet Granny”
    now that would make a good song title as well as “No Rust on Pap”!
    In other words, he won’t ever rust out…My Dad was a hard-working man, too…That’s what the doctor said to him…”Guess you will just have to ‘wear out for you’ll never rust out’!” Meaning he hated to rest, always doing something all the time!
    Later Tipper
    “There is no place like home, there’s no place like home”…uuhhh Oops, I think that line is from the Wizard of Oz…LOL

  • Reply
    Leslie
    June 7, 2015 at 11:18 am

    What a lovely garden and yard!

  • Reply
    Leilani Worrell
    June 7, 2015 at 10:09 am

    That is a beautiful rendition of a great song! Your girls are sooooo talented!

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    June 7, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Love it! I got my first guitar for my 12th birthday. My sister’s then-boyfriend (a guitar teacher) walked in playing “Annie’s Song” on it and I cried. “Country Roads” is a classic. Can’t count how many times I’ve sung it over the years. All music lovers, and especially musicians, should embrace each note. Love me some Pressley girls!

  • Reply
    dolores
    June 7, 2015 at 9:42 am

    I really enjoyed the song as well as the singing. I always had a special feeling for this particular song.

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    June 7, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Thanks for this. It’s one of my all-time favorite songs and the girls did great!

  • Reply
    Jack
    June 7, 2015 at 9:11 am

    To me the song evokes a sweet melancholy and feeling of nostalgia. The place and time of home no longer exists, except in my mind, but that is enough. It makes me glad I spent as much time there as I did before the inevitable changes made that impossible.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 7, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Love the song as much today as when I first heard it years ago.
    It was great seeing the girls yesterday
    and catching up on what they are doing.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 7, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Good job! It’s nice to see and hear Mandolin Man and I am assuming Guitar Man on the right.
    That sure is a pretty picture of your garden. There’s gonna be lots of good food from there this summer.

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