John Denver – John Denver (2001, CD) - Discogs

About the song

John Denver’s Song of Wyoming. A ballad that evokes the vastness and serenity of the American West, sung by a voice synonymous with folk music and environmentalism. Released in 1975 on Denver’s album Windsong, this song is a testament to the profound effect that wide-open spaces can have on the human spirit.

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Denver, born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. in 1941, was already a well-established artist by the time Song of Wyoming came along. Hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Rocky Mountain High” had cemented his image as a champion of the American landscape.

Windsong, however, marked a shift towards a more introspective and personal style. While the album retained Denver’s signature folk-pop sound, it also incorporated elements of country and rock, creating a richer tapestry for his storytelling.

Song of Wyoming embodies this introspective quality. The song opens with a weary traveler, a “lonesome old dogie” (cowboy), reflecting on his day’s journey. The imagery is vivid: a fiery sunset painting the sky, the haunting calls of night birds, and the gentle whisper of cottonwood trees. Denver’s voice, a warm baritone, perfectly captures the melancholic beauty of the fading light.

The lyrics delve into a sense of disillusionment with the hustle and bustle of city life. The narrator, having “wandered around the town and the city,” seems to be searching for meaning. This introspective journey takes a turn when he encounters the calming presence of nature. “Stopped all my scheming, I’m just drifting and dreaming, watching the river roll by,” he sings. The vastness of the Wyoming landscape becomes a source of solace, a place to simply “be” rather than “do.”

Read more:  John Denver - Heart to Heart

The natural world becomes a source of music itself. The coyote’s howl, the wind rustling through the sagebrush – these sounds are transformed into a serenade, a Song of Wyoming sung just for the narrator. This serenade is further emphasized by the rising moon, a symbol of hope and renewal.

The song takes a more uplifting turn in the second verse. The narrator wakes up on the range, feeling a sense of liberation. He compares himself to an angel, almost capable of flight. The imagery shifts from the stillness of the night to the vastness of the open plains. He feels a connection to the land, a desire to “drift like a cloud” and “sing like a bird in the tree.”

The final verse brings the song full circle. The wind in the sagebrush becomes a celestial choir, once again singing the Song of Wyoming. This repetition emphasizes the transformative power of nature. The song is not just a melody; it’s a constant presence, a reminder of the beauty and peace that can be found in the wilderness.

Song of Wyoming is more than just a love letter to a state. It’s a testament to the universal human yearning for connection with nature. Through Denver’s evocative lyrics and masterful storytelling, the song allows us to experience the tranquility and freedom of the open Wyoming landscape, even if we’ve never set foot there ourselves.

Video

Lyrics

“Song Of Wyoming”

I’m weary and tired, I’ve done my day’s riding, nighttime is rolling my way.
The sky’s all on fire and light’s slowly fading, peaceful and still ends the day.
Out on the trail, night birds are calling, singing their wild melody.
Down in the canyon, cottonwood whispers a song of Wyoming for me.Well I’ve wandered around the town and the city, tried to figure the how and the why.

I stopped all my scheming, I’m just drifting and dreaming, watching the river roll by.
Here comes that big old prairie moon rising, shining down bright as can be.
Up on the hill there’s a coyote singing a song of Wyoming for me.

Now it’s whiskey and tobacco and bitter black coffee, a lonesome old dogie am I.
But waking up on the range, Lord, I feel like an angel, Feel like I almost could fly.
Drift like a cloud out over the badlands, sing like a bird in the tree.
The wind in the sage sounds like heaven singing a song of Wyoming for me.
A song of Wyoming for me.