Six Mountain Songs, Torch & Twang Style - The Colorado Sound

Six Mountain Songs, Torch & Twang Style

Happy weekend!

Listening to music while taking in the scenery is one of the great parts of living in Colorado. Yes, the traffic can be a snarling mess sometimes. Fortunately there’s some good mountain music to make the scenery that much better.

Here’s some classics and rare gems in Torch & Twang’s ode to mountain music.

Loretta Lynn, “High On A Mountain Top”

Key lyric:

“Where I come from the mountain flowers grow wild
The blue grass sways like it’s goin out of style
God fearin’ people simple and real
‘Cause up on the ridge folks that’s the deal”

Why it’s perfect mountain music:

This song is pure Loretta. Her voice rises an octave or two with each new tale of life in the mountains. Mountain living is hard, but she makes it look easy.

Neil Young, “Sugar Mountain”

Key lyric:

“You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you’re thinking that
You’re leaving there too soon”

Why it’s perfect mountain music:

Neil Young wrote this when he was only 19, in 1964. It appeared over a decade later on 1977’s Decade, fittingly. It’s a song about lost youth, and calls to mind one of those perfect Colorado days, where you don’t want to come back down from the slopes or the trail.

 Ola Belle Reed, “High On A Mountain”

Key lyric:

“As I listen to that breeze whisper gently through the trees
I’ll always cherish what you meant to me”

What it’s perfect mountain music:

This love-lost song is Americana at its finest. It’s Appalachia mountain music that we can all relate to. Ola Belle Reed, born in 1916, played clawhammer-banjo, and you can hear it ring true in this song. The track comes from Smithsonian Folkways.

Fleet Foxes, “Blue Ridge Mountains”

Key lyric:

“In the quivering forest
Where the shivering dog rests
I will do it, grandfather
Wilt to wood and end”

What it’s perfect mountain music:

This is haunting music, the kind you would hear as a storm cloud rolls in over The Rockies. It’s also immensely harmonious and mysterious at the same time, like so many storms we’ve seen in these parts.

The Osborne Brothers, “Rocky Top”

Key lyric:

“Once I had a girl on Rocky Top
Half bear, the other half cat
Wild as a mink but sweet as soda-pop
I still dream about that”

Why it’s perfect mountain music:

Arguably the funnest bluegrass song ever. A version of this has become the University of Tennessee’s fight song. This is the most two-steppable music in the world, and reminds us of the good ole days.

Toots and The Maytals, Country Roads

Key lyric:

“Almost heaven, West Jamaica
True ridge mountains, shining down the river”

Why it’s perfect mountain music:

Yeah, the John Denver version is the essential one. This is a killer cover though, and a cover song is one of the best ways to honor brilliant songwriting.

John Denver made it eternal, and Toots and the Maytals take it to a new level.

See you this Sunday at 7 am for Torch & Twang!