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Bring Me Home

Map of the world


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This spring, a Geography 102 class made a project for extra credit that has turned into a testament to West Virginia’s staying power throughout the world. The students searched for video of people across the globe singing what may be your favorite song: “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

They put their research into an online map showing more than 50 versions in “Mapping John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’: The Story of How One Song that Crosses Continents Always Brings Us Home.” You’re going to find at least one video you hadn’t seen. Maybe it’s professional wrestler John Cena singing the song when he visits West Virginia for a match. Or the Swedish soldiers bonding over the strum of a guitar.  Or maybe it’s the Elvis impersonator in Vietnam singing his rendition.


The class, led by PhD candidate and instructor Barbara MacLennan, started the semester by using the song to talk about the geographic concepts of belonging and the spread of culture, and the project has been entered into international and state mapping competitions.


Here are just a few examples of renditions around the globe:


Jamaica:  Toots Hibbert and the Maytals perform “Take Me Home, Country Roads” live. Rolling Stone ranks their album, “Funky Kingston” one of the 500 greatest albums of all time.


U.S.: “The Office” received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Sound Mixing for their episode that featured dueling renditions of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” for ‘Michael Scott Paper Company’ Season 5, Episode 23.


U.S.: Davis Mitchell, a popular Dine artist who sings about Navajo life, received a nomination for his Navajo rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” at the 9th annual Native American Music Association and Awards.


Brazil: Fernando e Sorocaba are known for their fun and entertaining stage shows. They have toured the United States, Europe and Latin America.


Belgium: Sonny Vande Putte, a musician from Belgium, experiments with record audio, including this barbershop quartet rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”


Germany: Wolfgang Thobae Spielt plays a masterful accordion version. 


Turkey: The artist Rockin’ Robin plays “Take Me Home, Country Roads” for the street merchants at Pergamon, Turkey.


Kenya: The Moipei Quartet, also known as the Kenyan Angels, are a gospel music band of siblings. They are the first UNICEF Child Ambassadors in Kenya and in 2007 received the Head of State Commendation Award by the President of Kenya in recognition for their outstanding contribution to the music industry and Kenya.


India: Rigveda Deshpandey, a professional whistler, performed our song at the International Whistling Convention (2010). He is a sound engineer, teacher, filmmaker, whistler and founder of the Indian Whistlers’ Association.


Japan: The Wakayama Children’s Choir has won several international choir competitions and served as a cultural exchange delegation through their music program.


Indonesia: KAWANLAMA, an Indonesian folk band, performs their cover. 


Visit the project online at go.wvu.edu/roads and hop over to "The List" for more "Country Roads Covers Uncovered."


Tell us your "Country Roads" story at wvumag@mail.wvu.edu