Forty Miles From Denver is a little ditty by the Yonder Mountain String Band, or just Yonder for short. This song is on their album Elevation. I like this song for a number of reasons. It's true-blue bluegrass--just down to earth and lovely-- coming from a group of kids keeping the artform alive. Bluegrass is an older style of music, and I think that for these kids to have been as successful as they are shows 1)they are tremendously talented with their instruments and 2)audiences are branching out to other forms of music and learning to appreciate "the roots." I also like this tune because of its simple theme: a boy finds himself in the cold city of Denver, longing for his home in the Appalachian hills. Folk music is often accredited to the Appalachian "hillbillies," and the Odysseus-like theme of the song sort of connects two generations. I tend to think of Denver as a kind of a trendy city--not Beverly Hills-like--but more just a happening and hip town. The character in the song finds himself in this mile-high city and expresses his love of the "old sod" through that region's folk music. It's almost a longing for the past as all romantics experience. Yonder being formed in Denver makes this even more poetic. He sings about trains, the moon, the hills, and his girl's knife--it's almost the perfect bluegrass song. The lyrics are as follows: It's a cold, cold moon out tonight.
And it's a cold, cold point on your knife.
Could I call myself a man
If I left by the mornin' line? And I'd be forty miles from Denver when you woke up all alone--
I'd be forty miles from Denver and three days from my home
In that cool mountain air on an Appalachian trail
Whoa-Oh-Oh, life is better there. It's a lonely road to travel on,
but I've stood here waiting much too long.
And I'd rather leave this minute
Than try to carry on. And I'd be forty miles from Denver headed east-bound on the track--
I'd be forty miles from Denver and trying to get back
To that cool mountain air on Appalachian trail
Whoa-Oh-Oh, life is better there. It's a cold, cold moon out tonight.
And it's a cold, cold point on your knife.
Could I call myself a man
If I left by the mornin' line? And I'd be forty miles from Denver when you woke up all alone
I'd be forty miles from Denver and three days from my home
In that cool mountain air on an Appalachian trail
Whoa-Oh-Oh, life is better there.
Whoa-Oh-Oh, life is better there.
Whoa-Oh-Oh, life is better there. Of course, it's always better on waves than on paper, so give it a try; you won't be disappointed.

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