About the song

ohn Denver’s Wild Montana Skies. A ballad that evokes the vastness and untamed beauty of the American West, sung by a voice synonymous with the genre itself. Denver, a folk icon whose career spanned decades, was known for his heartfelt lyrics and melodies that celebrated nature and the simple life. Wild Montana Skies, released in 1983 on his album It’s About Time, is a prime example of this.

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This particular song isn’t just a love letter to Montana’s breathtaking landscapes, though. It delves deeper, weaving a narrative about a man shaped by this wild environment. The lyrics paint a picture of a life born under the Wild Montana Skies, in the Bitterroot Valley, amidst the early morning rain. We hear the cry of wild geese overhead, a seasonal migration mirroring the cyclical nature of life itself. A warm wind from the south whispers of change, perhaps foreshadowing the protagonist’s journey.

Denver doesn’t shy away from the challenges of this untamed land. The song hints at hardship, with lines like “there was something in the city that he said he couldn’t breathe.” This suggests the protagonist, perhaps a young man, felt a yearning for a life less confined, a connection to the wild that the city couldn’t provide. Montana, with its vastness and untamed spirit, becomes a refuge, a place where he can truly breathe and find himself.

The melody itself complements the narrative beautifully. It’s a gentle folk ballad, with a steady acoustic guitar strumming that evokes the rhythm of a horse’s hooves galloping across the open plains. The addition of Emmylou Harris’ vocals adds a layer of tenderness and warmth, a perfect counterpoint to Denver’s more robust voice. Together, they create a soundscape that perfectly captures the vastness and serenity of the Montana landscape.

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Wild Montana Skies transcends mere geographical celebration. It’s a song about the power of place, about how a particular environment can shape a person’s identity and destiny. It’s a call to listen to the whispers of the wild within ourselves, a yearning for connection with nature that resonates deeply with anyone who’s ever felt the urge to escape the confines of civilization and embrace the open road. This song is more than just a country ballad; it’s a testament to the enduring human spirit and the profound impact that nature can have on our lives.

Video

Lyrics

“Wild Montana Skies”

He was born in the Bitteroot Valley in the early morning rain.
Wild geese over the water, heading north and home again.
Bringing a warm wind from the south, bringing the first taste of the spring.
His mother took him to her breast, and softly she did sing:
Oh Montana, give this child a home.
Give him the love of a good family and a woman of his own.
Give him a fire in his heart, give him a light in his eyes,
give him the wild wind for a brother and the wild Montana Skies.His mother died that summer and he never learned to cry.
He never knew his father and he never did ask why.
He never knew the answers that would make an easy way,
but he learned to know the wilderness and to be a man that way.
His mother’s brother took him in to his family and his home,
gave him a hand that he could lean on and a strength to call his own.

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And he learned to be a farmer, and he learned to love the land,
and he learned to read the seasons and he learned to make a stand.
Oh Montana, give this child a home.
Give him the love of a good family and a woman of his own.
Give him a fire in his heart, give him a light in his eyes,
give him the wild wind for a brother and the wild Montana Skies.On the eve of his 2lst birthday, he set out on his own.
He was 30 years and running when he found his way back home.
Riding a storm across the mountains and an aching in his heart,
said he came to turn the pages and to make a brand new start.
Now he never told a story of the time that he was gone.
Some say he was a lawyer, some say he was a John.

There was something in the city that he said he couldn’t breathe,
there was something in the country that he said he couldn’t leave.
Now some say he was crazy, some are glad he’s gone.
Some of us will miss him and try to carry on,
giving a voice to the forest, giving a voice to the dawn.
Giving a voice to the wilderness and the land that he lived on.
Oh Montana, give this child a home.
Give him the love of a good family and a woman of his own.
Give him a fire in his heart, give him a light in his eyes,
give him the wild wind for a brother and the wild Montana Skies.
Oh Montana, give this child a home.
Give him the love of a good family and a woman of his own.
Give him a fire in his heart, give him a light in his eyes,
give him the wild wind for a brother and the wild Montana Skies.