Beloved singer-songwriter John Denver may not be a frequently name-checked influence on today's current crop of legends in the making, but his shadow looms large over any hoping to craft pop-leaning Americana or folk. To wit, an impressive array of artists have gathered to pay respect to the man on the forthcoming ATO Records compilation The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver.
The talent roster ranges from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros ("Wooden Indian") to J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten ("Prisoners") to Dave Matthews ("Take Me to Tomorrow"). While we'll have to wait until April 2 to check out the two of those just listed that we'd actually like to hear, NPR has shared My Morning Jacket's cover of one of Denver's most well-known works, "Leaving on a Jet Plane."
The Louisville crew due the song tender justice, employing that old It Still Moves-style reverb and some sweet harmonies to add nuance to Jim James' twanging vocals. "Listening to John Denver’s voice is like hearing the wind for the first time as a child," James said to All Songs Considered (via Consequence of Sound). "You want to follow the wind and become one with it." One might say he's done just that. Visit NPR to hear MMJ's lovingly done version.
Also take a spin through the sampler here, and review the track list below:
The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver track list:
1. My Morning Jacket – "Leaving on a Jet Plane"
2. Dave Matthews – "Take Me to Tomorrow"
3. Kathleen Edwards – "All of My Memories"
4. J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten – "Prisoners"
5. Train – "Sunshine on My Shoulders"
6. Old Crow Medicine Show – "Back Home Again"
7. Lucinda Williams – "This Old Guitar"
8. Amos Lee – "Some Days Are Diamonds"
9. Allen Stone – "Rocky Mountain High"
10. Brett Dennen and Milow – "Annie's Song"
11. Evan Dando – "Looking for Space"
12. Emmylou Harris and Brandi Carlile – "Take Me Home, Country Roads"
13. Blind Pilot – "The Eagle and the Hawk"
14. Mary Chapin Carpenter – "I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado"
15. Josh Ritter and Barnstar! – "Darcy Farrow"
16. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – "Wooden Indian"