John Denver “Take Me Home, Country Roads” Lyrics Meaning

“Take Me Home, Country Roads,” also known as “Country Roads,” is a song written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and John Denver. John Denver performed it as a single, released on April 12, 1971. The song reached number two on Billboard’s US Hot 100 singles chart for the week ending August 28, 1971.

In the song, John Denver expresses a deep longing for West Virginia, a place described as almost heaven, with its natural beauty and nostalgic memories.

In this article, we’ll analyze the meaning behind the lyrics.

Inspiration Behind “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

The idea for the title line came to Taffy Nivert and Bill Danoff, who were married at the time, while they were driving on Clopper Road in Montgomery County, Maryland. They were headed to visit Nivert’s family in Gaithersburg. Nivert was driving, and Danoff was playing his guitar.

In a 2020 interview with NBC4 Washington, Danoff said, “I just started thinking, country roads, I started thinking of me growing up in western New England and going on all these small roads. It didn’t have anything to do with Maryland or anyplace.”

Later, Denver had come to Washington, DC to perform with the Danoffs. After the show, they all went back to the couple’s home. After the show, they all went back to the couple’s home.

Denver lent a hand to finish the song, and the following night, they performed it together on stage. Denver was confident it was a hit, so he took the Danoffs to New York to record the song together.

Danoff found the line “(t)he radio reminds me of my home far away” in the song’s bridge to be very West Virginian. It reminded him of when he used to listen to the program Saturday Night Jamboree, which was broadcast from Wheeling, West Virginia. He listened to it at his home in Springfield, Massachusetts during his childhood in the 1950s.

Danoff also gave credit to his friend, West Virginian actor Chris Sarandon, and some members of a West Virginia commune who attended his performances. Danoff recalled, “They brought their dogs and were a very colorful group of folks, but that is how West Virginia began creeping into the song.”

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” Lyrics Meaning

[Verse 1]

Almost Heaven, West Virginia

Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River

Life is old there, older than the trees

Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze

Verse 1 describes the setting of the song:

It’s set in West Virginia, known for its beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River.

The area has a sense of age, with trees older than people.

Despite the old trees, the mountains are younger and seem to grow like a gentle breeze.


Country roads, take me home

To the place I belong

West Virginia, mountain mama

Take me home, country roads

In the Chorus, the lyrics express a sense of longing. The singer wants to go back to his home, which is in West Virginia. He refers to West Virginia as “mountain mama,” suggesting a strong emotional connection to the state.

The phrase “Take me home, country roads” conveys a deep desire to return to the comforting familiarity of his rural home.

[Verse 2]

All my memories gather ’round her

Miner’s lady, stranger to blue water

Dark and dusty, painted on the sky

Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye

In Verse 2, the singer reminisces about his memories connected to West Virginia.

He mentions a “miner’s lady,” referring to someone associated with the coal mining industry, which is significant in the state’s history.

The landscape is described as “dark and dusty,” with the sky painted in a particular way, creating a vivid image.

The mention of “moonshine” and a “teardrop in my eye” suggests a mixture of nostalgia and perhaps some sadness associated with these memories.


I hear her voice in the morning hour, she calls me

The radio reminds me of my home far away

Driving down the road, I get a feeling

That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

In the Bridge, the singer mentions hearing someone’s voice in the morning. However, it doesn’t necessarily refer to a specific person. In this context, “her” and “she” could metaphorically represent the singer’s emotional connection to West Virginia or the state itself. Th singer feels as though she can hear the state calling to them, especially in the morning

The radio serves as a reminder of his distant home, evoking feelings of nostalgia and longing to return to the place that holds special meaning for him.

While driving, he experiences a feeling of wanting to be home sooner, as expressed in the line “That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday.”


Take me home, (Down) country roads

Take me home, (Down) country roads

The Outro reiterates the singer’s desire to be taken back to his home on country roads.

The word “down” in parentheses could suggest a sense of descending or returning to his home.

Deeper Meaning Behind “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” celebrates the idea of home, specifically the state of West Virginia. 

Bill and Taffy Danoff began writing the song on a trip to Maryland. The country roads in the song are in West Virginia, though the couple had never been to the state. 

Danoff drew inspiration from listening to the AM station WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia, and the postcards sent by a friend who actually lived in the state. 

In a 2011 interview with NPR, Bill Danoff said: “I just thought the idea that I was hearing something so exotic to me from someplace as far away. West Virginia might as well have been in Europe, for all I knew.”

Though the song is set in West Virginia, it doesn’t refer to a specific location. It only represents a state of mind. Bill Danoff told the Library of Congress: “It was the idea of country roads anywhere that inspired the song. The thought that originally drove me to write the song, that this experience of enjoying driving down the country road, was a universal one and it proved to be correct… People all over seem to like those ‘country roads’ that promise to go to the place you belong.”

That said, the song is a tribute to the natural beauty of the West Virginia, with its Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River, and old trees, with lyrics like “Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong.”

Lines such as “All my memories gather ’round her, miner’s lady, stranger to blue water” evoke a sense of homesickness and a yearning for one’s roots. It touches on the universal human desire to return to a place that feels like home, where cherished memories reside.

The song embraces the unique Appalachian culture of West Virginia with references to coal mining (“miner’s lady”) and moonshine, reflecting the state’s historical significance.

In the end, ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ is a song that celebrates the special feeling of one’s homeland, where the heart finds solace and a deep emotional connection. It resonates with anyone who has experienced the bittersweet pull of nostalgia and the longing to return to the place they call home – a place of love, belonging, and cherished memories.

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