West Virginia connection to "Country Roads, Take Me Home" cleared up by cover band

It's one of the most famous songs in America: John Denver's "Country Roads, Take Me Home." And it just turned 50! The song's ties to our area run deep, but is it really about West Virginia at all?

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

Technically, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River are predominantly in Western Virginia and rumor has it the song's writers had never been to West Virginia when they wrote it.

Chris Collins of Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon, who performed in the John Denver cover band Tuesday night at the Weinberg Center for the Performing Arts, gave his opinion.

"The song is about West Virginia, obviously," he said.

Collins plays dozens of shows like the one at the Weinberg Center every year and has talked to the song's writers about this topic.


"It wasn't written in West Virginia," Collins says. "It was written on the way to West Virginia."

In 1997, songwriter Bill Danoff, in an obituary for John Denver, wrote in the Washington Post that it was on his way to a family reunion, driving on Clopper Road in Gaithersburg, where the song about West Virginia was molded by him, his eventual wife Taffy Nivert and Denver. 

"They got to the chorus and they just didn’t have anything and they invited John over and they just sat up until 4 or 5 in the morning and they worked on it together, and when they were done they went out the next week or whatever it was and they went out and played it for their first audience and they immediately knew," says Collins.


So, 50 years later, we have Montgomery County, Western Virginia and the great state of West Virginia to thank for the iconic Denver song.