~tuesday tunes~ almost heaven

while summer swiftly swished away, one of the ways the emotional waves of wedding were felt by me, was music. i decided it would be fun to share music a bit more frequently in general, and thought i’d give music a day of the week in which to organize itself here in the cyber canning jars. monday was taken… so tuesday tunes it is! to kick it off, i thought i’d share 3 versions of a song that captures the arc of emotion of my summer. like the ocean waves i describe to quinn in my best yoga teacher voice during the dolphin story at bedtime, these sound waves were protective; i tell him to picture himself held by the waves, as they are big enough to hold it all, so we can release and fall asleep and let go of it all. the emotions of weddings are just so big, and so in like manner, the best way i can think of to start to share that enormous emotional journey is to share some of the music which helped me release some of the big feels.

i did not have major plans for video at our wedding, though because we live in such a modern age, we received several great unanticipated videos from friends and my now step-daughter. in the aftermath of it all, though, i discovered that i myself had taken only one single phone video during the entire time my family and rich’s family came together to celebrate our marriage. this is the one, and it does a great job of summing up the brim-fullness of this time. just to orient you, from my vantage point i begin in the corner sitting by the door, where i am perched on the lap of my then fiance. we didn’t yet have our entire families in attendance, but we had a pretty good representation, and my best woman, too! dad had already picked up his/my guitar, regaled us with roger miller songs and best woman’s request for the very unfortunate man (ever appropriate for weddings, this was also sung on my big brother’s wedding day!) dad then sang the one i would have requested, had he not gone ahead and played it without me needing to ask.



was i the only one who danced around the raw sienna living room rug with their mom to the warm crackle of the record player making john denver croon his greatest hits in the 80s? “all my memories gather ’round her” is a perfect way to describe my mother, which is always who i think of when i hear that line, including as we gathered around my dad to listen to this rendition of take me home, country roads. we grew up on a country road surrounded by rolling hills, and my mom did her own growing up in a place devoid of hills known as the bronx, but her heart for the mountains of the adirondacks certainly qualifies her for the description of “mountain mama” as well.

my heart was so full, looking around at our loved ones gathered around, the children immersed so fully in their play in the next room, and listening to this song that has always captured the very essence of longing for home for me.


we departed for our honeymoon a blissfully blurry several days later. our first stop was a brandi carlile concert at the oregon zoo, and after brandi pulled on our heartstrings with the story and wherever is your heart, she thought she’d break the poignant tension with a sing-along!

this is the song, though not the performance we saw, but from another venue.

unfortunately, i was unable to participate in the sing-along until she got to the bridge, because i was too busy sobbing into my husband’s shoulder. it was difficult even then to croak the words, “radio reminds me of my home far away, driving down the road i get a feeling like i should have been home yesterday… yesterday.” there were two moments for me when the emotional floodgates opened after the wedding: the first involved laughter at the beach the day after the wedding, and that story is still to come, but the second was a good cry at an outdoor concert, surrounded by thousands of people.


after we returned home and started sweeping away dried petals and resuming normal life, except new and improved because it’s married life, i made up some new mix cds based on songs that had come up during the wedding week and honeymoon week. i found a version of brandi carlile singing country roads with emmylou harris, so of course that went on the mix. riding in the car while i overplayed said mix, quinn absorbed the song and began to sing along. in a few short years his voice will no longer be in the right register to warble along with brandi, so i decided to record it for posterity. one evening after he had it memorized, we sat on his bedroom floor and i strummed on dad’s/my guitar while quinn sang:

maybe one day he’ll sing along with it when it comes on the radio, feeling the things i feel when i sing it, but about this home of ours. “life is old there… older than the trees… younger than the mountains… blowing like a breeze.”

~tuesday tunes~

audio inspiration, musical memories and stories with soundtracks

9 comments to ~tuesday tunes~ almost heaven

  • Eileen

    You did it again, kiddo….

  • tim

    Awwwwe… I used to sing this song to the boys every night… it was definitely the most requested… in fact I think it is the only song Oliver would ever request. I don’t know if it’s because it’s just about the only song other than lullabies and nursery rhymes that I can sing decently and know all the words to, but probably. Last time we had a bonfire this summer, Talan sang Country Roads all the way through as well, with Natalie playing guitar. Cousin twins. 🙂

  • camp boss

    so glad that even though I am an adopted sister my memories of john denver are almost the same as yours. we used to listen to several of his albums (yes on vinyl!!) on weekend evenings. I always thought papa was a doppelganger for Mr. Denver. we would sing along loud and proud. And now whenever John Denver songs come on Pandora the Pack kids all sing along. We are also rather fond of, Thank God I’m a country boy!!!

  • mamaC

    hey there, mountain mama! I am so very surprised and delighted by this post because it is so synchronous. This same song, with its own past associations for me, has featured strongly in my life recently just as it has for you! And that has included the experience of noticing my own children learning it, and hearing them hum or sing it as they go about their business. Linus volunteered to empty the dishwasher one weekend morning and there he was, singing “Country roads….” as he reached to put away dishes.

    I’m fond of the song–I’m always glad if I happen to catch it at one of Joe’s farmer’s market gigs or something; I love when he plays it. It isn’t a song I associate with my parents/family but just one I remember from childhood and always liked.
    But once I was out to dinner with my mom & Ocie (age 3) at a tiny village restaurant where Joe was playing. And when he started singing this song, my mom visibly perked up and she reflexively started singing along on the chorus. She looked so happy; I’ve always remembered it. And once, before I met him, Joe played bass with John Denver at a pub in Boston! JD had stopped in for a pint and then was invited up to do a couple of songs with the band at the end of the night. After playing a couple of his current compositions for the room, he turned and asked Joe if he knew his music, and if there was a song he wanted to do. Joe immediately said, “Take Me Home Country Roads.” And then got to share John Denver’s mic in order to sing harmony on the chorus!

    And then like I said, this song unexpectedly ended up featuring prominently for me recently. I am going to suggest that you check out the Studio Ghibli film “Whisper of the Heart” if you possibly can. Just….do.

    Indeed, this was a good way to start to share here about your recent journey. I loved hearing your dad and seeing your mom’s warm embrace of Quinn. And I had never heard Brandi Carlile!

  • mamaC

    I swear I think he sings “growin’ like a breeze,” though. (I’m pretty sure the internet doesn’t agree with me.)

  • rich and i finally watched whisper of the heart. our library has it, but apparently it is quite popular, and the system just has one copy of the dvd, so i was 2nd in line for the hold on it and had to wait a while. what a great film! wow. we loved it, for so many reasons, of course because of the song, and just… all of it. of course a recommendation from you was the perfect thing!

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