When you’re Born & Bred in the great state of West Virginia, two things are guaranteed: You will know how to say words like Monongalia, Monongahela and Kanawha, but not words like Hurricane AND you will know all of the words to Take Me Home, Country Roads by the late great John Denver. So we have decided to take a stab at covering the numerous versions of this song that have been done over the years. Which one is your favorite? Sound off in the comments.
Peter Hollens has an a cappella version of the song that starts off beautifully enough. But on the second verse it does something that is simply inexplicable. It drops a line about Missouri that may or may not have something to do with the game Fallout 76. That absurdity aside this version is a great stab at the original.
Next up is Zach Bryan performing the song live from Red Rocks in California with none other than West Virginia country artist, Charles Wesley Godwin. This version is featured on Bryan’s live album “All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster (Live From Reds Rocks)” Red Rocks features the double bonus of being located in John Denver’s adopted home of Colorado. So the moment the band drops out and the crowd takes over is rather magical.
And now for some punk…because why should country artists have all the fun? Me First And The Gimme Gimmes tackled the track back in 2008 on their Have Another Ball. The good thing about it is that if you hate this version it’s punk so its very fast and ends quickly. We personally enjoy hearing a different take on the track but realize it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Well, while we are here might as well stick with the unexpected… How about some Celtic punk? The Cloverhearts covered the Denver classic as a single in 2021. And we love it! The vocals and harmonies here are actually really good and the bagpipe fits perfectly.
Swing Rockabilly? Who asked for swing? We’ve got that too. And in an unexpected place. Late 90’s early 2000’s Christian music had a band called The W’s and they took a swing… (see what we did there) at the track on their sophomore album. The team at Born & Bred is split on this track. What do you say? Yes or No?
And one last version for your consideration. This track is a mash up and features a who’s who in country music including West Virginia’s Brad Paisley. It is a mix of Dolly Parton’s classic I Will Always Love You, Willie Nelson’s On The Road Again and Denver’s Country Roads. This blend works extremely well and is one of our favorite covers. The collected version is called Forever Country and is simply beautiful.
Maybe you’re a purist and only the original will do for you. We hear that and we are including it so that you can cleanse your pallet. Did you hate or love these covers? Are there others you like? Let us know. And now for the man himself. Thanks to John Denver for the contribution to the culture and becoming an integral part of West Virginia.