Connection between West Virginia and “Country Roads, Take Me Home” clarified by cover group

It’s one of America’s most famous songs: “Country Roads, Take Me Home” by John Denver. And he just turned 50! The song’s ties to our region run deep, but is it really West Virginia?

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Technically, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River are mostly found in West Virginia, and rumor has it that the song’s writers were never in West Virginia when they wrote it.

Chris Collins of Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon, who performed in John Denver’s cover band Tuesday night at the Weinberg Center for the Performing Arts, has given his opinion.

“The song is about West Virginia, obviously,” he said.

Collins plays dozens of shows like the one at the Weinberg Center each year and has discussed this topic with the song’s writers.


“It wasn’t written in West Virginia,” Collins says. “It was written on the way to West Virginia.”

In 1997, songwriter Bill Danoff, in a John Denver obituary, wrote in the Washington Post that he was on his way to a family reunion, driving on Clopper Road in Gaithersburg, where the song about Virginia- Western was shaped by him, his eventual wife Taffy Nivert and Denver.

“They got to the chorus and they just had nothing and they invited John over and they just sat until 4 or 5 in the morning and they worked on it together, and when they were done they are came out the next week or whatever and they went out and played it for their first audience and they knew right away, “Collins says.


So, 50 years later, we have to thank Montgomery County, West Virginia, and the great state of West Virginia for the iconic Denver song.

Toya J. Bell