Music

Summer and Country Roads

road through mountain vista

We spent our first full day this year working outside yesterday. Although the day started out on the chilly side with temps in the 40s the sunshine soon warmed things up and by evening it felt like summer had arrived for real.

I’ve always thought country roads feel like summer. My thought doesn’t exactly make sense, since the country roads I drive on are the same whether its summer or winter.

Maybe the connection in my mind between summer and country roads is 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.

Until a few years 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 it 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.


I hope you enjoyed the video!

Tipper

Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like

19 Comments

  • Reply
    SusieQ
    May 2, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    I couldn’t possibly count the times we’ve sung that song…. driving down the road , around a cracklin fire at a campsite, out on the porch swing … great song and fun to sing . Sang right along with ya watching the video❣️

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 2, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    Hmmm has anybody ever written about the washboarded gravel roads in summer with the dust rolling in and no air conditioning? Talk about shake, rattle and roll! Leave the windows down until you saw someone coming then crank furiously to get them closed before you entered the dust cloud. Sit and sweat in the blazing heat until distance thinned the cloud enough to roll the window down as fast as it went up. Repeat X times.

    I’m showing my age again, huh?

  • Reply
    Allison B
    May 2, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Loved it !!!

  • Reply
    dee
    May 2, 2021 at 11:33 am

    I enjoyed the singing and playing. It is amazing that they could write a song about West Virginia, painting a picture in one’s mind, having never been there. I have always loved country roads and little creeks too. Tipper, thanks for the post, it brought back beautiful memories of many country roads I’ve traveled.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    May 2, 2021 at 9:58 am

    I stand corrected on Henry John DEUTCHENDORF Jr. ( John Denver) However close I was, I missed it, y’all so I apologize with this correction. What a name he had huh? A humdinger I think… And while I’m at it, Pressley girls and Paul really did an AWESOME rendition of this great song—- I feel John would be smiling if he heard it…

    • Reply
      Sherry Dobbs
      May 2, 2021 at 6:31 pm

      Love The Garden story and Awesomeness on the song Chitter and Chatter!♥️♥️

  • Reply
    Margie G and the Yard worker
    May 2, 2021 at 9:34 am

    I LOVE JOHN DENVER ( DEUSELDORFF WAS HIS REAL NAME.) Country Roads is a great song like most EVERYTHING Denver wrote. He had a wife who made quite a fool of him by her shenanigans in ASPEN. He was thoroughly humiliated. You can read it yourself. John Denver was a serious and loving man. You know, Tipper, when I think of country roads, I think of ladies slippers, black eyed Susan, daisies and sweet smells from the woods by the road side too! I don’t think of dark and cold empty trees and ugly trash in ditches. I worked outside for 3 straight days and to be honest, I passed sore and bruised 2 days ago. I slept in til almost 9 this morning… god bless all this fine LORDS DAY!!!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    May 2, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Always enjoy the Sunday songs.

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    May 2, 2021 at 8:42 am

    I love it. It seems that with Pap being just a heartbeat away, Tipper has emerged as the leader of their singing group, ensuring that the rest stay on-script. And, of course, through Paul we still hear Pap’s beautiful tenor coming through. Regarding country roads… As kids, we’d love the gravel and dirt roads which didn’t see a lot of vehicle traffic. The birds and other small animals, not constantly being flushed by noise and high speeds, seemed to be close around us. And in the quiet we could hear a frying pan rattling over an open eye of a cookstove popping corn and rendering some wonderful kitchen sounds. The guinea hens totally compensated for an otherwise lack of noise, rendering a a beautiful, peaceful scene and invoking a song or a tall tale of ghosts in the nearby holler. Increasing the childhood pleasure of wandering down those kind of roads was the relatively smooth surface, which was soothing to our bare feet.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 2, 2021 at 8:38 am

    I remember that song from our courtin and early married days. Back then, it was on 8-track. My best buddy had a bright yellow ball of an 8-track player with a suction base. Wherever he was, it was.

    I reckon I like near about any song or poem about home, the Appalachian streak I guess. I think of this song and Miranda Lambrrt’s “The House That Built Me” and Trisha Yearwood’s song about the red dirt roads of middle Georgia. It would be a long list. Even in gospel, there are many songs about home.

    Thanks for the song Chatter and Chitter. While it doesn’t take me back in the same way roads do, it does take me back. Your all’s song “Brasstown” has it beat though because you have lived it.

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    May 2, 2021 at 8:18 am

    County Roads is one of my favorite songs. Thanks for singing it. Driving on country roads is one of my favorite things to do; especially when I am driving on roads where I grew up. It is very peaceful.

    Thank you for what you do. I really enjoy your channel. I look at it every morning.

    Denni Morgan

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 2, 2021 at 7:53 am

    Good job! The girls did a great job on that lovely old song. I did enjoy it.

  • Reply
    Staci
    May 2, 2021 at 7:43 am

    I’ve always connected country and dirt roads with summer too, I think it’s because we tend to take more backroads with the windows rolled down during the summer. We still do in our late 40s and 50s.

    Now that ‘Country Roads’ song was my personal anthem. I loved it so much that I taught myself to play it on an electric organ when I was 7 or 8 and I wasn’t a piano or organ girl, i was more of guitar and spoons girl.

  • Reply
    R Priest
    May 2, 2021 at 7:34 am

    One of my favorite Pressley Girls…. women, songs.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    May 2, 2021 at 7:26 am

    I remember when that song became a hit. It’s always been a favorite. John Denver had a way of making folks feel nostalgic and this song hit the nail on the head. I just love to hear y’all play. What a blessing that your family just sets up in the kitchen or porch and y’all play together as a family. Lots of precious memories being made. Thank you for sharing with us. It’s always a treat to hear y’all.

  • Reply
    Watkins
    May 2, 2021 at 6:43 am

    Tipper when will we here u sing?

    • Reply
      Tipper
      May 2, 2021 at 6:50 am

      Watkins-I’m not much of a singer 🙂 Thanks for visiting and watching!!

    • Reply
      Larry Eddings
      May 2, 2021 at 8:31 am

      Well done! I love that old John Denver hit song.

    • Reply
      Margie G
      May 2, 2021 at 9:36 am

      Tipper can play a very mean guitar though!!!! There’s such FANTASTIC talent in that clan!!!!

    Leave a Reply