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About the song

John Denver’s Cool an’ Green an’ Shady. A folksy gem nestled within the vast collection of this iconic singer-songwriter’s work. Denver, a champion of the natural world and a chronicler of the simple joys in life, perhaps found his most comfortable voice in songs that celebrated the beauty of nature and the solace it offers. Cool an’ Green an’ Shady embodies this sentiment perfectly, capturing a daydream of escape and a yearning for tranquility.

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Released in 1974 on the album Back Home Again, the song arrived at a time when Denver’s career was soaring. Hits like Take Me Home, Country Roads and Annie’s Song had established him as a folk hero, a voice for a generation yearning for connection and wide-open spaces. Cool an’ Green an’ Shady stands as a quieter moment within this catalogue, a gentle folk ballad that speaks to the universal desire for a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The song opens with a series of idyllic scenarios: lazy Saturdays, sunny afternoons, and the freedom of holidays. Yet, a subtle shift occurs as Denver sings about rainy days being “better days for hangin’ out inside.” This hints at a longing for escape, a yearning for something more than just lounging indoors.

The city, with its “grainy days and city ways,” becomes a place to hide, not a place to thrive. This sets the stage for the central desire of the song: a place of refuge, a “cool an’ green an’ shady” haven.

The melody itself reflects this yearning. It’s a gentle, lilting tune with a hint of melancholy, punctuated by the hopeful refrain. The acoustic guitar, a Denver staple, provides a warm and familiar backdrop, while the occasional flourish of piano adds a touch of whimsy. Denver’s vocals, as always, are sincere and inviting, drawing the listener into the daydream of escape.

Read more:  John Denver - Annie's Song

Lyrically, the song paints a vivid picture of this desired sanctuary. We find ourselves on a patch of “grassy ground”, eyes closed, worries forgotten. The imagery is simple yet powerful: “August skies, and lullabies, promises to keep”. These lines evoke a sense of childhood wonder, a time when worries seemed distant and the world held endless possibilities.

Cool an’ Green an’ Shady isn’t just about escaping the concrete jungle, though. It’s about reconnecting with oneself, with nature, and with a sense of peace. The “dandelions and twisting vines, clover at your feet” speak of a world teeming with life, a world that exists outside the constraints of daily routines. The “memories of Aspen leaves trembling on the wind” hint at a personal connection to nature, a yearning for a simpler time, perhaps.

Ultimately, Cool an’ Green an’ Shady is a song about the importance of finding solace. It reminds us that even in the midst of busy lives, there’s a need for moments of quiet reflection and connection with the natural world. Whether it’s a literal escape to a shady grove or a figurative retreat into one’s inner sanctum, the song celebrates the power of finding that cool, green, and shady space where worries can melt away and the free spirit can take flight.

Video

Lyrics

“Cool An’ Green An’ Shady”

Saturdays, holidays, easy afternoons,
lazy days, sunny days, nothing much to do.
Rainy days are better days for hanging out inside.

Grainy days and city ways make me want to hide
someplace cool and green and shady.

Read more:  John Denver - Everyday

Find yourself a piece of grassy ground, lay down close your eyes.
Find yourself and maybe lose yourself while your free spirit flies.

August skies, and lullabies, promises to keep,
dandelions and twisting vines, clover at your feet.

Memories of aspen leaves trembling on the wind,
honey bees and fantasies, where to start again,
someplace cool and green and shady. Cool and green and shady.
Cool and green and shady. Cool and green and shady.