Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmastime: Christmas For Cowboys

John Denver: Christmas for Cowboys


We started our week with John Hartford on the silent river at Christmas Eve; we end it with John Denver on the lonesome prairie, that clear, high tenor ringing out his preference for the sky and the range, the saddle and the reins on Christmas Day.

The songs both come from and celebrate the opposite ends of the country, one with water and wheel, one with snow-covered plains; Hartford's Christmas is warm and damp with the deep South, while Denver's is cold, windy, and snow-covered. But stick 'em together, and there's something eminently paired about these two songs, something deeply akin about their songwriters.

Guess I've got a soft spot in my heart for songs - and men - that reject the trappings of crass overplayed commercial existence, to celebrate instead the beauty of a workingman's communion with nature, where the the work is sacred, the fire is sustenance, the wide-open horizon is the endless promise of another year, and the starlit sky is a Christmas tree lit from the heavens.

And who can resist one more coversong, for Christmas' sake?

Jars of Clay: Christmas For Cowboys


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