About the song

John Denver’s The Cowboy and the Lady. Now that’s a song that takes you on a journey, a folksy ballad with a touch of unexpected charm. Released in 1981 on Denver’s album Some Days Are Diamonds, it might not be one of his most heralded tunes, but it’s a delightful composition that showcases his signature folksy style with a layer of social commentary.

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John Denver, of course, needs no introduction. The “Sunshine on My Shoulders” singer was an American institution throughout the 70s and 80s. Championing environmentalism and singing about the beauty of the natural world, he became synonymous with a certain brand of optimistic Americana. But The Cowboy and the Lady steps outside that comfort zone a bit.

The song sets the scene with a chance encounter – a cowboy stranded in an airport lounge due to bad weather, seeking solace in the company of a lady who couldn’t be more different. Her fancy attire and sophisticated tastes paint a picture of someone far removed from the cowboy’s world. Denver sings about their contrasting backgrounds: “She was evenings at the opera and summers in Paree. I was Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee.”

This unlikely pairing is the heart of the song. Despite their differences, Denver finds a connection with the lady. They share stories, laugh over the situation, and a sense of camaraderie blossoms. It’s a testament to Denver’s songwriting that he can create such a believable connection. The song isn’t about some grand romantic spark, but rather the simple human ability to find common ground even with the most unexpected person.

The Cowboy and the Lady also delves into the idea of breaking down social barriers. The cowboy, a symbol of the American West, and the lady, representing a more refined, urban culture, come together despite their seemingly disparate backgrounds. This subtle social commentary adds another layer to the song’s charm.

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Musically, the song is pure Denver. His warm vocals are backed by a gentle acoustic guitar and a touch of strings, creating a comforting and familiar soundscape. The melody is catchy, with a touch of melancholy that reflects the fleeting nature of the encounter. It’s a song that makes you want to lean back, close your eyes, and let the simple beauty of the story wash over you.

So, while The Cowboy and the Lady might not be John Denver’s most famous song, it’s a gem waiting to be discovered. It’s a testament to his ability to weave a heartwarming story with a touch of social commentary, all wrapped up in his signature folksy style. It’s a song about the power of human connection, reminding us that sometimes the most unexpected encounters can leave a lasting impression.

Video

Lyrics

In the airport lounge she sat, in a fancy feathered hat, the grandest lady I had ever seen.
Outside the heavy rain had grounded all the planes, so I asked her if she’d like some company.
In my rhinestone studded suit, my cowboy hat and boots, I must have been a sight for her to see.
But she said, “Pull up a chair” as she fumbled with her hair, a more unlikely pair you’ll never see.

I was Mogen Davis wine, she was Chablis ’59, but there we sat, the cowboy and the lady.
She was evenings at the opera, and summers in Paree,
I was Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee.
The cowboy and the lady, as different as could be,

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But it seemed so right that rainy night in Tennessee.And somewhere in between her Harvey’s Bristol Cream
and the beer I drank and the easy company,
we somehow came together, for a night of stormy weather,
now there’s a little bit of class in this old cowboy, there’s a little bit of cowboy in the lady.

The cowboy and the lady, as different as could be,
But it seemed so right that rainy night in Tennessee.

And somewhere in between her Harvey’s Bristol Cream
and the beer I drank and the easy company,
we somehow came together, for a night of stormy weather,
now there’s a little bit of class in this old cowboy, there’s a little bit of cowboy in the lady.