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LUNCH WITH BOOKS: 50 Years of Country Roads, Take Me Home

January 04, 2022
12:00pm - 7:00pm

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In part two of “Historic West Virginia Anthems,” on January 4, 2022, we will be joined by WVU English professor, Dr. Sarah Morris, and "The Troubadour," Bob Gaudio for an exploration of that most famous of West Virginia anthems, John Denver's iconic and internationally ubiquitous, "Take Me Home, Country Roads" (1971) which turned 50 years of age in 2021. Morris’ book, Transformation, Translation, and Complication: Take Me Home Country Roads, explores the significance of the iconic song at West Virginia University, in West Virginia, and beyond. She contends that “Country Roads” emerged within a set of social and historical conditions that contributed to its success when it was written, so much that it is now ingrained it into our collective culture, locally and globally, in a lasting way. It is a song, an anthem, a prayer, and a hymn, but it represents us only in a limited way.

Take Me Home, Country Roads, written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and John Denver, and released first in 1971, is beloved by West Virginians. Morris explains that the song "sees us in a soft, kind light, regardless of how we actually are, so much that it has become an official state song. Adopted as a school anthem by West Virginia University in 1972, Country Roads has special significance for Mountaineers. Played at sports events and graduations, resonating from clock towers on campus, the song is a symbol of school pride."

"The song Country Roads represents liminal space between two worlds: one actual and another conceived. It creates an image of space, place, and lifeworld as listeners imagine it, though that image is often in contrast to reality. Through engagement with Appalachian history, theory, survey, interviews, and classroom research, my work as a whole begins to uncover the personal, historical, social, economic, political, artistic, and pedagogical implications of Country Roads."

Watch WV Tourism's West Virginia video set to Country Roads

In addition to being in-person in the Library auditorium, this program will be available to watch live on Facebook Live, on YouTube, and on the OCPL website's LWB Livestream page Log into your Facebook or YouTube account during the program to leave questions for our presenters in the comments box. They will answer them during the live broadcast. 

Tuesday  |  January 4, 2022 at noon
LWB LIVESTREAM: 50 Years of Country Roads, Take Me Home


PRESENTER BIO: Dr. Sarah Morris teaches undergraduate writing courses and is the associate coordinator for the Undergraduate Writing Program. Her research interests include human science phenomenology, embodiment, writing process, and student-centered teaching. She received a 2020-2021 WVU Humanities Center Fellowship to work on her forthcoming book, Transformation, Translation, and Complication: Take Me Home Country Roads.


FEATURED BOOK: John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads, words and music adapted and illustrated by Christopher Canyon (Dawn Publications, 2005).
[ Check book out from the Library  |  Purchase a copy online through bookshop.org to support local book stores or visit indiebound.org to find a copy in a bookstore near you.  |  Purchase online through Amazon ]

book coverIllustrator Christopher Canyon brilliantly adapts John Denver's famous song for children of all ages in this picture book adaptation of Take Me Home, Country Roads, which celebrates the experience of arriving home to the countryside of West Virginia. By car, by pickup, and by motorcycle, a family goes up, down and around the hills of West Virginia, heading for a family reunion at Grandma and Grandpa's country home! It's all about country, it's all about music, and it's all about family.

Christopher Canyon shares some thoughts on the project: "To have this opportunity to share John Denver's music and message with the children of today is truly a dream. John gave the world so many thoughtful songs about relationships; our global need to live together in peace and the importance of caring for our environment. These messages, as relevant today as ever, and John's music and voice continue to touch our lives and lift our spirits."


FEATURED MUSIC: The Best of John Denver (EMI, 1998)
[ Check out this CD from the Library ]

CD cover imageDiscography: This CD features the classic John Denver songs Rocky Mountain High, Perhaps Love, Annie's Song, Seasons Of The Heart, Back Home Again, For You, Take Me Home, Country Roads, Leaving On A Jet Plane, Windsong, I'm Sorry, Dreamland Express, Sunshine On My Shoulders, Love Again, and Thank God I'm A Country Boy.

Don't have a CD player? You can download John Denver albums online with your OCPL library card through Hoopla Digital! With Hoopla, you get 10 check outs per month - that's ebooks, audiobooks, movies, music, and more. With music, you can download entire albums to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. They stay on your device for one week, and then are automatically return to Hoopla at the end of the 7-day period.

View all John Denver music available through Hoopla


Lunch With Books Livestream starts at noon on Facebook and YouTube.

Subscribe to the Lunch With Books Youtube channel or like us on the Lunch With Books Facebook page or to receive notifications of our upcoming LWB broadcasts. To receive emails about our upcoming programs, visit our News page, click the "Subscribe" button to sign-up for our news blasts or download our free OCPL Connect app from your smartphone's app store. 

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"Lunch With Books" is the library’s flagship program for adult patrons. These lunchtime programs feature authors, poets, musicians, historians, and more every Tuesday at noon. Bring lunch (to the Library Auditorium or your computer), feed your brain!


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