Colorado Songs

M John Fayhee: Smoke SignalsAuthor’s note: Though this represents a stylistic change of pace for Smoke Signals (I thought I’d give my liver a break for a month), a book project I have been working on for several years has given me the opportunity to research songs about/from Colorado, most of which have the word “Colorado” in their title and/or their lyrics. I have herein opted to share the fruits of that research. There is no doubt that there will be many reactionary exclamations along the lines of, “Fayhee’s a frickin’ moron! How could he not include [such and such a song] or at least something by [fill in the blank].” Well, I am all ears. Please send suggestions (as well as any corrections to this list) to I would also be interested to hear songs from other parts of the Rockies, especially those that contain state names within their titles or lyrics. • John Denver, who was born Henry John Deutschendorf, penned the lyrics of “Rocky Mountain High” (Mike Taylor composed the music) after watching the Perseid meteor shower with friends near Williams Lake, outside Aspen. It was recorded in August 1972 and released the following year. Because he lived most of his adult life in Colorado, a large percentage of John Denver’s discography hailed from the Centennial State. Many of his tunes make reference to his adopted home state, but, if you’re going to seek out a Denver song not named “Rocky Mountain High” that is about Colorado, your best bet is “I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado.” • Bob Dylan, another singer who, like John Denver changed his name (from Robert Allen Zimmerman), at one time maintained a second home in Telluride (maybe he still does). In “Man of Constant Sorrows” he sings: “I’m going back to Colorado/The place that I started from/If I’d known how bad you’d treat me honey/I would never have come.” And, in “Wanted Man,” he sings: “I might be in Colorado or Georgia by the sea/Working for some man who may not know at all who I might be.” (Note: Contrary to some published reports, Dylan’s “Romance in Durango” is not about the southwestern Colorado town that is home to Fort Lewis College, but, rather, the nice big city that is in Mexico.) • While still with The Flying Burrito Brothers, Rick Roberts wrote, “Colorado,” which was included on that group’s self-titled 1971 album. “Colorado” was covered by Linda Ronstadt on her 1973 album, “Don’t Cry Now.” Roberts went on to help found Firefall. Several versions of “Colorado,” as performed by both The Flying Burrito Brothers and Ronstadt, can be found on YouTube. • Stephen Stills’ “Colorado” is an example (of many) of a great mountain-based song with lyrics that you wonder how much pot these folkies were actually smoking back in the earliest days of the Rocky-Mountain-High era. To wit: “I am a man/I live alone/Don’t much bother me/It won’t be long/Come a woman who wants to be near/Me and my mountains, we’ll be right here/Colorado.” At least the tune’s catchy! • James McMurtry, the son of Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry (of “Lonesome Dove” fame) sang in “No More Buffalo” (“Live in Aught-Three”): “We headed south across those Colorado plains/just as empty as the day/we looked around at all we saw/remembered all we hoped to see/looking out through the bugs on the windshield/somebody said to me/no more buffalo, blue skies, or open road/no more rodeo/no more noise/take this Cadillac/park it out in back/mama’s calling/put away the toys.” This one also boasts a catchy tune. • Merle Haggard recorded two Colorado-based songs, “Colorado” and “Lucky Old Colorado.” • Townes Van Zandt’s “Colorado Girl,” from his “Rear View Mirror” album, is one of the most fetching songs about the state. Steve Earl does a wonderful cover of “Colorado Girl” on his “Townes” album, which is a tribute to the late Van Zandt. • If you are inclined to travel to the deep, dark, musical past — a past that was hilariously skewered by the 2003 movie “A Mighty Wind” — you might like the Kingston Trio’s folk classic, “The Colorado Trail,” which was written by Carl Sandburg and Lee Hayes. The fact that this song came out a solid decade before the Colorado Trail was even conceived, much less constructed, is perplexing. But any song that contains the near-Wordsworthian words, “Weep, all ye little rains/Wail, winds, wail/All along, along, along/The Colorado Trail,” is worth a listen, if for no other reason than to thank the gods that the early-1960s folk music scene was short lived. This toe-tapper can be found on “Melanie’s Melodies of the Rockies: Soothing Songs of the Old West for Home and Fireside” album. One listen to this dog and you won’t be able to resist lacing on your boots and running as fast as you can 500 miles from Denver to Durango on the Colorado Trail. It should be noted, as you’re scrambling to download “The Colorado Trail,” that no other album that has ever been produced contains the word “Colorado” in as many song titles as does “Melanie’s Melodies of the Rockies.” It should also be noted that, sadly, this is not THE Melanie (Safka), of “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain”) fame. • Even though it may be considered a mildly good-natured anti-Colorado song, National Lampoon’s “Colorado,” sung by, of all people, Chevy Chase, is actually a surprisingly melodic satire of “Rocky Mountain High.” “Colorado” is found on the 1973 “Lemmings” album. • Folk singer Chuck Pyle is often referred to as the official singer/songwriter of the High Country. His 2007 album, “Higher Ground: Songs of Colorado,” contains one song named “Colorado” and another named “Moonlight on the Colorado.” But it’s his “Little Town Tour,” which begins, “Bayfield, Cascade, Manitou, Palisade … ” that is most interesting in that it includes the names of almost every single mountain town in the state. • While, admittedly, its Colorado connection is somewhat oblique, Tom Waits’ “Nighthawk Postcards (From Easy Street),” which appeared on his seminal 1975 live album “Nighthawks at the Diner,” contains the lines, “Maybe you’re standing on the corner of 17th and Wazee streets, yeah, out in front of the Terminal Bar, there’s a Thunderbird moving in a muscatel sky.” Those words were penned long before LoDo  — which Waits would hate — spontaneously combusted. The Terminal Bar is long gone, but the building, which now houses Jax Fish House, remains. • One of the great musical shames of the past decade is that Denver-based DeVotchKa is not a household name from Maine to Australia. That changed a bit with the release of the Academy-Award-nominated film, “Little Miss Sunshine,” which was completely scored with DeVotchKa songs. It did not appear in the film, but “Commerce City Sister,” with its line, “You know I ain’t never going back to Commerce City,” expresses the sentiment of many people who have actually visited Commerce City, an industrial Denver suburb. Hopefully, “Little Miss Sunshine” will serve as a gateway drug for many future DeVotchKa fans. This is truly a wonderful musical ensemble. • No Colorado-based song list would be complete without mention of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which spent a lot of time in the state. One of its long-time members, Jimmy Ibbotson, still lives in Woody Creek, where he performs often. One of the Dirt Band’s best-known songs that contains the state’s name is “Colorado Christmas,” which was actually written by the late, great Steve Goodman, who served as a mentor for folk/rock legend John Prine. (Goodman and Prine co-owned a bar in Chicago named Somebody Else’s Troubles, after one of Goodman’s best-known tunes.) • You’ll be forgiven if the words “Ozark Mountain Daredevils” have not entered your thought processes for many years. In the mid-1970s, this band from Springfield, Missouri, was one of the hottest acts in the country, and their “Colorado Song” (by Steve Cash and John Dillon) was released on their first album, “The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.” This song is highly recommended, despite its second-to-the-last verse, which consists entirely of “aaaahhhhh” being repeated over and over, and the last verse, which consists of “lalalalala” being repeated over and over. At least those lyrics are easy to remember. • So, OK, it’s technically a song about leaving Colorado, but that can easily be overlooked, due to the fact that Emmylou Harris’ “Boulder to Birmingham” is flat-out one of the best songs ever penned. It has been covered by many artists, including Joan Baez, Dolly Parton and the Starland Vocal Band (yes, they of “Afternoon Delight” fame). The lines “I was in the wilderness and the canyon was on fire/And I stood on the mountain in the night and I watched it burn/ I watched it burn/I watched it burn” are made lovely by Harris’ voice. • Folk diva Judy Collins was actually born in Seattle, but she grew up in Denver, where she attended East High School. Many of her songs contain references to Colorado. Few songs about the state are more accurately evocative than Collins’ “The Blizzard (The Colorado Song),” which contains lines that show the singer was intimate with the realities of life at altitude: “One night on the mountain, I was headed for Estes/When the roads turned to ice and it started to snow/Put on the chains in a whirl of white powder/Halfway up to Berthoud near a diner I know.” You never heard the Ozark Mountain Daredevils singing about chaining up in the middle of a blizzard. They would have just lit a joint and waited for the blizzard to pass. • So far, these Colorado songs have been a bit on the heavy, philosophical side. Fun needs to be part of the equation, and that’s where Bowling For Soup’s “Surf Colorado” comes in. With lines like, “She’s traded rattlesnakes for bunny runs in Colorado Springs,” it’s easy to overlook the fact that this song is essentially a rant by a Texan who’s angry that his paramour left the Lone Star State to move to Colorado without him. Also, the fact that the album upon which “Surf Colorado” appears is titled “Drunk Enough to Dance” ought to gain it some style points in the hedonistic High-Country resort towns. • There’s no denying that, when John Denver released “Rocky Mountain High” in 1973, it marked the first time that many Americans gave the Mountain Time Zone the mental time of day. Many people even believe that “Rocky Mountain High” was in and of itself responsible for drawing nationwide attention to Colorado, the same way Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire” drew attention to Utah’s Slickrock Country. But Denver was not the only person singing about the Rockies in 1973. While it does not mention Colorado specifically (and, hey, if the official state song, “Where the Columbines Grow,” doesn’t even mention Colorado, then all bets are off), Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” was in the top 20 at the very same time as “Rocky Mountain High.” Walsh was living outside Nederland in Boulder County when he recorded “Rocky Mountain Way.” The fact that it makes no sense at all does not diminish its place in musical history. • In the mid-1970s, Dan Fogelberg wintered outside Nederland, Colorado, otherwise known as Ned (its residents are known as “NedHeads”). A decade later, with his popularity definitely on the downslide, Fogelberg released “High Country Snows.” The title song will never become a mosh pit favorite, unless there’s irony at play, but it still does justice to life at altitude, as does “Nether Lands” — which is close enough to “Nederland” that we’ll call it good. • The Grateful Dead performed at least two songs that contained references to Colorado, “Me and My Uncle” (“Me and my uncle went ridin’ down/South Colorado, West Texas bound”) was actually written by John Phillips, of Mamas and Papas fame (Judy Collins and Neil Young were anecdotally connected to the song by way of extreme drunkenness in a hotel room in 1963). And “I Know You Rider” (“I’d shine my light through a Colorado rain … ”) is considered “traditional.” • Even though none of his songs contain the word “Colorado,” Elton John did record his 1974 album “Caribou” at the famed Caribou Ranch outside Nederland. The best-known song from that album was “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” but one of the lesser-known tunes was “Cold Highway,” which contains the lyrics, “Where the corners turn blind like the graveyard ground/Oh your black icy snare once cut down my friend/In the deepest dark winter when the world seemed to end.” Before it burned down in 1985, Caribou Studios housed record efforts by dozens of world-class acts such as America, Badfinger, the Beach Boys, Chicago, Phil Collins, Rick Derringer, Earth, Wind & Fire, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joel, Carole King, John Lennon, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Petty, Rod Stewart, U2, War and Frank Zappa. Rumor has it that, in addition to its isolation, the main attraction to the Caribou Ranch was its altitude, which apparently allowed singers to hit, appropriately enough, high notes that they could only dream of at sea level. •  Any song containing the lyrics, “I didn’t kill that man, I called it self-defense/Now I watch the world go by through a twelve-foot barbed-wire fence” deserves to be listed, especially if it’s titled “Colorado.” That would be performed by 19 Wheels (from the album “Six Ways from Sunday.”) **Visit Smoke Signals for more content from M John Fayhee

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33 thoughts on “Colorado Songs”

  1. Mr. John Fayhee, you are just flat out hilarious. Even when you write a semi serious
    comment, you are killer. My brother got me hooked on Mountain Gazette, he ACTUALLY lives in Colorado, I admire it from afar. We chuckle over every issue, one thing hits him funny, another thing leaves me gasping for breath and crying, all at the same time while laughing. We are easily amused. Wish you wrote the whole thing, but maybe that is too much to ask.

    Oh, and thanks for the nod to Emmy Lou Harris, she is awesome.

    You have many fans, thanks again, Elaine Lee

  2. Hello Mr. Fayhee!

    I commend you on your column and its celebration of Colorado based song. However, while I wouldn’t go and say “Fayhee is a moron”, I am suprised that a few Colorado and/or Rocky Mountain based songs were left out. Maybe I am more of a classic rock fan than you (not that that is necessarily a virtue) but I quickly thought of three of my all time favorites that were left off your list and, with nothing better to do, thought that I could possibly educate and enlighten. To wit:

    – “Riding the Storm Out” by none other than R.E.O. Speedwagon. Yes, I know these guys will forever live in the land of cheesey music due to there 1980’s bananlity and top ten putrification, but this song not only rocks but expresses my sentiments towards mountain living to a tee. Check out these lyrics – “Ridin’ the storm out, waiting for the thaw out/On a full moon night in the Rocky Mountain winter/My wine bottle’s low, watching for the snow/I’ve been thinking lately of what I’m missing in the city/and I’m not missing a thing/watching the full moon crossing the range”. Wow, my feeling exactly. Everytime I hear this song, especially when I’m sitting at home watching a full moon passing over the mountains, drinking some wine and pondering the dystopian life in the city, I get all goose-pimply. OK, so this song doesn’t mention Colorado at all, but, hell, if this song doesn’t ooze Colorado virtue, then what does?

    – “Get Out of Denver” by the Bob Seger System. No one, even, supposedly, ‘ol Bob himself, knows exactly what this song is about, but to me it sounds like some sorta sordid drug deal gone bad followed by a chase up and over Loveland pass (“Well, red lights are flashin and the sirens were a screamin/We had to pinch each other just to see if we was dreamin/Made it to Loveland Pass in under less than half an hour/ Lord, it started drizzlin and it turned into a thunder shower”). For those who are topographically challenged, Denver (aka “The Big Gnarly”) lies smack in the middle of Colorado. So, I would dare say that this song counts as a Colorado based tune. But wait! Just in case someone is saying “But maybe ‘ol Bob meant Denver, PA or Denver, NC or Denver City, TX” – there’s more Colorado-ness in this song-adventure: “Fog had finally lifted when we looked to see where we was at/We’re staring at Colorado state policeman trooper cat”. This song kicks, rocks and rolls all at the same time. The studio version is great, but for a real thrill check out the live version on “Live Bullit”. “Get out of Denver, baby, go, go/cause you look just like a commie/and you might just be a member/better get out of Denver”. Sound advice, in my opinion.

    – “Going Back to Colorado” by none other than Boulder, Colorado-based Zephyr. This song, and the album by the same name, were released in 1971. This is fairly obscure music in the realm of classic rock, but the song is an interesting look at Colorado life. Incidentally, the album art is great… a picture of what can only be New York with a small inset of what can only be high-country sub-alpine forest superimposed over said mega-sprawl. For what it’s worth, I believe this is the only album in your listing and accumulated knowledge that contains the word Colorado in the album title. The version of the band that recorded this song had Tommy Bolin playing guitar; Bolin later replaced Joe Walsh in the James Gang, which allowed Walsh to make solo recordings like “Rocky Mountain Way”.

    I’ve always wanted to make a listing of Colorado based/themed music and, lo and behold!, you have done a fine start. I especially appreicate the listing of musicians who recorde at Caribou Ranch. Kudos! and I hope you enjoy the above listings/history/appreciations.

    Cheers, Tom Zieber; Gunnison, Colorado

    1. From a very long line of Colorado natives, good job to you both, great reminders from this music loving CO gal!! ????????????????

  3. Tom: I’ve probably had 20 additional Colorado songs forwarded to me since I penned that column. The one that made me slap my forehead was Pure Prairie League’s “Boulder Skies.” Like, how could I have missed that? Thing is, I only have so much room in Smoke Signals, so there’s no way I could have gotten everything in. I believe there are only a few states than can equal Colorado’s musical heritage.

    1. SOOOO glad you added “Boulder Skies” … I know it is a year later, but I was researching the whole moving to Colorado thing (Not for legal pot lol … cough ..cough) but just need a change, and I ran into this post … I kept scrolling down and my brain was screaming “Where is Boulder Skies?” … thanks for adding it yourself before someone else, kept me from bitchin’

      A new fan of Smoke Signals

  4. Mr. Fayhee,

    A great Smoke Signals this time, filled with the bemused detachment that you do so well. Your selections are solid, and your knowledge of Colorado 70s soft-rock history is indeed monumental. You’ll no doubt get hit with a tsunami of contributions to your running list, and why should an opinionated former denizen of the Centennial State refuse a chance to participate in the mass hysteria? Here’s a few:

    Probably just about every bearded banjo-playin’ wahoo from Nederland has penned a Colorado anthem at some point, but two bluegrass groups of note should be mentioned: Ned’s own Yonder Mountain String Band with their fine and heartfelt “40 Miles From Denver” from their first album, and Fort Collins furry fellows Head For The Hills, whose “Goin’ Down” features the lines “I’m goin’ down down down to that place I gotta be/in the Colorado backcountry!”

    “Colorado Girl” is a hell of a song, but one of my favorite Townes Van Zandt tunes is “Snowing On Raton,” which has been covered by just about everybody, including Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, the Flatlanders, and most likely Steve Earle at some point. My favorite version as of late is by Town Mountain, a grand bluegrass combo from Asheville, NC. It isn’t strictly a Colorado song (though it does mention the moon not-rising over the Gunnison) but qualifies, I suppose, due to its border-straddling proximity, and should evoke fond memories of anyone who’s trucked it on up over the pass between Raton and Trinidad in December.

    Alas, who can forget “Colorado Kool-Aid”, Johnny Paycheck’s ode to drinkin’ Coors and slicin’ off some drunk asshole’s left ear in a dusty Houston saloon?

    Finally, some of my all-time favorite Colorado music comes from a former mayor of Ouray, Bill Fries. “Bill who?” you might ask, to which I would respond with his more well-known pseudonym, C.W. McCall. Most folks know him for that one Convoy tune, but Fries and Chip Davis (the guy behind 10,000 Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums) released a handful of corny but enjoyable albums back in the 70s that unabashedly celebrated a wild-and-wooly Rocky Mountain redneck ethos. McCall sounded a little bit like John Denver’s unkempt hillbilly truck-driver brother-in-law, the boozer Billy to his milder Jimmy Carter. Hell, he even mentions him by name in “Lewis and Clark”: “Now Arnold Jones ‘n Marybeth Jensen was in a ‘Vette down by the Deep-Rock/had John Denver on the 8-track gittin’ high.”

    The first C.W. McCall album “Wolf Creek Pass” name-checks Wolf Crick and Pagosa Springs and Glenwood Canyon, and has a gen-u-ine sentimental tearjerker in “Rocky Mountain September.” Subsequent albums have songs about the narrow gauge Durango-Silverton railroad, the death of a snowplow driver on Red Mountain Pass above Ouray, and a little adventure taking the wife and kids on a jeep trail excursion down the notorious Black Bear Road to Telluride. Can’t forget his ode to the CO state flower, the columbine. I reckon you can’t get too much more Coloraddy than that!

    Holy pete, that was a real word-avalanche! My apologies.

    Love the list and looking forward to reading other folks’ additions!

    Shawn Bliss
    Providence, UT

  5. Colorado Exile by Jim Post. Also an honorable mention to KKFM CSprings ca1972 when it was a progressive rock station with its: “give me a k, give me a k…. . Followed by a pastiche of outtakes from songs about Colorado. Peace.

  6. Colorado Exile by Jim Post. Also an honorable mention to KKFM CSprings ca1972 when it was a progressive rock station with its: “give me a k, give me a k…. . Followed by a pastiche of outtakes from songs about Colorado. Peace.

    1. And Good Feeling To Know by Poco. Poco may have worked the word Colorado into some of their other songs. My favorite version of the Colorado Trail is by Roger Mcguinn with his trademark 12-string in the background.

  7. I’ve just happened upon your blog after researching the song Colorado trial song.
    Turns out those bad ass lyrics are written by 3 time Pulitzer prize winning Carl Sandburg…He must have been about 80 when he was helping with the songwriting. I love it.

  8. Interesting stuff, all. Truth be told, that was almost a throw-away Smoke Signals, one I pulled out of my ass at the last minute when the Smoke Signals I had been working on just wasn’t coming together, something that does not happen often. I was almost embarrassed to put it in print, thinking that everyone would think I was sort of copping out. Turns out it hit some sort of chord (sorry!). “Colorado Songs” is now officially the most-lettered-to-the-editor column we have ever run, with almost 40 people sending letters, in addition to these comments, as well as personal emails. Maybe I should cop out on Smoke Signals more often! Thanks!

  9. Missed that issue and picked up on the piece in #188. I’m a second generation Colorado native and have been collecting Colorado songs for 40 years. Here’s a few more – wish I had time for more details:

    Love’s Been Good to Me – Frank Sinatra
    A Mile High in Denver – Jimmy Buffet
    Someday Soon – Judy Collins
    She Came From Fort Worth – Kathy Mattea
    Baby Blue – George Strait
    You’re Wild Colorado – Johnny Cash
    40 Miles From Denver – Yonder Mountain String Band
    Denver – New Christy Minstrels
    Colorado – Chris LeDoux
    Chilly Winds – Kingston Trio & Serendipity Singers
    Colorado Cowboy – Bill Barwick
    Denver Annie – Court & Spark
    Denver – Gatlin Brothers
    East of Denver – John Stewart
    Chumley’s Bus – Six Family Mountain
    Colorado Song – Up With People

    There’s a bunch more but they’re relatively obscure.

    Nice piece you did.

  10. Frist off, I want to apoligise for commenting on a piece that is from nearly two months ago (and I have been sober for the most part) . I was/am a devoted Moutain Gazette reader but have fallen out of the stream as of late as I am currently living in Patagonian Chile learning day after day how terrible my Spansh really is. Henceforth, I felt something missing in my life, and to fill that void, what better than stuffing it with MG? I recently stumbled across this article about Colorado mountain songs. Thus, I figured since I am a Colorado Native (yes I capitalize both) and have spent more than the better part of my 25 years troncing through the desert in and around Grand Junction, to exploring the college bars (and college girls) in my time at Colorado State, trying my best to calm my mind and tell myself ¨it will pass, it will pass¨ while exploring the other ¨realms¨ of the wilderness with my closest friends in southwest Colorado, to slowing down and taking it all in at my home town of Peyton, Colorado on the high planes at nearly 7,000 feet on my dad´s tree farm, and everything in between – I have acquired a true love for the state and all it has to offer (minus the Texan and Californian transplants – you know who you are!) The passion for music of my father, brother and close friends (as well as my attempt to create some sort of sound with my guitar, vocals that doesnt make your ear drums bleed) has created a bastardized offshoot for my love of songs that mention Colorado, parts of the state or the true sentiment we Coloradans have (sorry Texas and California). Additionaly, I noticed you happened to leave out more than a little bit of the good stuff that is currently tickeling ear pussies – dont get me worng I love the old timey stuff too! So with out further adu, here is a small sample of some of the musical bliss I feel was overlooked or is unknown.

    1) Railroad Earth´s album ¨ELKO¨ which contains the great and origianlly name track ¨Colorado¨ that is an absolute master piece in captuing the beauty and magic that is Colorado in the summer time (as the lyrics state). Other tracks on the album have a huge Colorado influence such as ¨Mighy River¨ and ¨Seven Story Mountain¨and I am not pulling this out of my… hat. I saw them for the first time live in 2006 or 2007 at Yarmony Grass, the memoires are pretty foggy at this point, but I do remember them saying on stage that they traveled through Colorado for the first time and wrote most of the songs for the given album. Also RRE just plain gets filthy live and everyone should experience that! In this case Jersey boys (pronounced Joy-see) are alright by me.
    2)Yonder Mountain String Band – I saw above that people had caught the 40 Miles from Denver Track, but that is just the hair on the titty (so to speak) and doesnt even come close to what we know is the ¨real deal¨ (the titty that is) or even the ¨hair of the dog¨ which is expressed in the song I know all to much about ¨Blood Mary Morning¨. For example there is ¨Steep Grades, Sharp Curves¨ and ¨Traffic Jam¨which are clear odes to living the good life that exists outside of the I-70 traffic jam (weekend warriors) and Colorado boys´love of illicit materials and a good time. Couple those with the ¨Ramblers Anthem¨, ¨Snow on the Pines¨and ¨Catch a Criminal¨ – ¨I´m going back to Colorado with my suitcase and a gun¨ – and you have a Colorado tribute that is sings like a mountain wipporwill.
    3)The Guy´s Allstar Shoe Band which is the house band for the famed Garrison Kelior and A Prairie Home Companion. I had the pleasure of seeing them just before I left good ol Colorado back in October ´11 in the World Areana, Colorado Springs. If anyone out there doesnt listen to or know of Prarie Home you should, not a better way in the world to spend Sunday morning getting the cobwebs out – with a blood mary of course! Anyway the song is called Colorado bound and the best way I know for you to get your greesey hands on it is to go to – then to archive – then October 29, 2011 the song is at 8min.17sec. into the script.
    4) Due to my cramping fingers and high probability that no one will read this due my timely response/commentary – I will just leave you with a list of Colorado bands that are killing it on the Colorado live music scene. All are worth checking out!
    ·Leftover Salmon – got to have it
    String Cheese Incodnet – obvious
    ·Emmit-Nershi Band – Drew Emmit and Billy Nershi write songs heavily influenced by their Colorado ramblings and lifestyle
    ·Head for the Hills – a rocking FOCO bluegrass band
    ·White Water Ramble – more of the same!
    ·Euforquestra – a group of music majors from Iowa who also setteled in FOCO and make some unique jam based music.
    ·Wheel – My favorite group coming out of Grand Junction – Nick is the man and they have several songs that call upon the likes of the Uncompagre Wilderness, Gateway, Colorado and other goodies.
    ·Grass it Up – out of Colorado Springs, Steeped in American musical traditions such as bluegrass, old-time, ragtime, rock and country, its members have shaped a unique brand of Americana that expresses the feeling of life in today’s American West (I stole that from the website – all rights reserved)
    ·Pretty Lights – while I dont condone this type of music unless you have injested just the right amount of the right thing (or things), it is maybe the most popular act to come out of Colorado (Fort Collins) in the last couple of years.
    ·Haunted Wind Chimes – the news kids on the block out of Pueblo, Colorado (you can find them on the same A Prairie Home Companion show).
    ·Elephant Revival – they drink too much green tea for me when I would prefer a beer (a bit wholesome) but still a great blugrass band.
    ·Paper Bird – a Denver act that brings a very interseting and unquie twist to their live music – check it out.
    ·the Motet – gotta have it – Colorado based funk baby!
    ·The Honey Gitters – more Fort Collins Blue Grass!

    Sorry for diluting the purity that is your Colorado songs list, just felt it an obligation. If anyone sees this, let me know if I missed anything or F-ed anything up. Take care out there mountain world, I will hold it down for you in the Andes! MJF your a legend keep doing what you do!

    P.S. Moutain dog pics of Carmela (the Colorado Super dog as she is sometimes called) are coming soon!

  11. Well, I completely enjoyed this good read over dinner. Your style is delightful. I have long been trying to find a song I assume is called “Colorado.” The only lyrics I remember are: “Colorado, Colorado, la, la la la, la la la.” That’s it. It’s from the 70s when I was in junior high, and when I’ve asked people about it, they say, helpfully, “You mean ‘Rocky Mountain High?'” But alas, I do not. If you have found that in any of your searching, please let me know! Meanwhile, thank you for such a well written article.


      1. Susan Cottrell: yep the song hou are thinking of is bu Danny Holien. Several you tube selections available.

    1. I was reading that post that you left about the songs about Colorado and did that song that you could remember and made reference to say something like “listen to the calling of the wilderness” and then some wolves would howl in the background? Colorado ,Colorado, beautiful place that you are ?was part of the chorus?

    2. I love the Internet. I too have been looking for that song for years. Everyone thought I was crazy and had never heard the song. I recall him singing ‘Colorado, Colorado, bi, bi, bi, bi, bi, bi, bi’. So grateful for the reply to your question and Youtube recommendation. Search is over.

  12. Hope someone can help with the name of this song. I was stationed in Fort Ord in the 80’s, My girl and I related with it when I was transferred. I remember a female voice.
    singing about her love that left. and she sings about sipping on wine as she sits in a cabin, thinking of him, in Colorado. By the way I went back and married my girl 26yrs, and she remembers a male voice. “” Been looking for a week straight.

  13. Found it. funny how your memory plays tricks on you. it was (Lone Star State Of Mind~Nanci Griffith) I kinda had it right.

  14. Greetings,
    Have been putting together my own list of “Colorado” songs and have found some that mention a couple of specific areas here in SOCO. Both Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak are mentioned in an old, obscure Johnny Cash song called “She Came From The Mountains”. Colorado Springs is also mentioned in “Calling Out For Carol” by Stan Ridgway (of Wall of Voodoo fame), and the Dead Milkmen namecheck Pueblo, Colorado (home of the U.S. Dept. of Information) in a hilarious song titled “Stuart”.
    There is a college station here, KEPC, affiliated with Pikes Peak Community College, in Colorado Springs, that plays many, many of the “Colorado” songs posted, including the Danny Holien song and “Snowing On Raton” by Chuck Pyle.
    I guess that’s all for me. Thanks for the great list!

  15. i had several bands in the 1980s here in colorado most noteably EZ Money out of Longmont. At that time there was a band playing around called Hoi Polloi, Now there was a song written by their leader, Danny (can’t remember his last name) that was cool and got some airplay on KBCO and KTCL. The chorus went Colorado, Colorado Ba Pa
    Pa Ba Ba Pa Ba Ba. Honest! I know the dude was originally from Zumbrota Falls Minnesota? Cool song but not mentioned anywhere on your blog. Check it out and thanks.


    1. Yeah I’ve been trying to find that song
      It was by Danny someone and I heard it back in the 70’s on Detroit radio
      Anyone know what it is? It has a haunting melody

  16. To Dan and Mark – I have been looking for the same song. I heard it played on a Buffalo New York FM station in the late 60’s early 70’s and it has haunted me ever since. I am hoping that not only can we find out who did it but where I can get a copy. I was the only kid I knew who listened to FM in my neighborhood and this would take me back to some great times. Peace.

  17. Dear Everyone, It would have helped if I read all of the early comments first. Danny Holien it is and my thanks to all of you for sharing the joy that is music. Peace.

  18. Unfortunately, pressed for time, I quickly want to offer a (recent) song to add to the all-songs-Colorado list that I, recently, heard playing on the overhead speakers as I was pumping petrol at a local filling station; “Good Life by” One Republic. It makes me proud to know that Colorado love is being represented as “Colorado” is, still, being penned into the lyrics of songs sung by musicians of younger generations..

    (3rd generation Colorado native)

  19. As a kid, I purchased by mistake a version of Colorado sung by the Warming Trend, who I think might have been back up singers for John Denver at one point. I always felt that that song would better serve as a state song then where the columbines grow. possibly with a politically correct change to the final chorus, which says : where America can learn again, just like Colorado men, to Coloradoans… Ha ha And no offense meant to Columbines, but to me sounds like a funeral dirge.

  20. Is it possible to buy a print of this article & comments?
    I would like to use them for reference materials, please.

  21. Check out “My Crime” by Canned Heat, circa 1967-68 from the LP “Boogie With Canned Heat.” An ode to Denver’s finest, sung to the tune of the Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters classic “Hootchie Cootchie Man.” Stunning slide guitar and mouth organ by the great Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

  22. Was wondering where you got your info that Bob Dylan owned a home in Telluride? Never has to any of our local knowledge.
    Sincerely, Bo Bedford

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