This I Believe

Jeffrey - Dayton, Ohio
Entered on December 15, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in the power of the music of John Denver. As a youngster the music was often playing at home and began to infuse into my soul. I can remember sitting on my bunk-bed ladder and singing along to Rocky Mountain High playing on my record player. I didn’t realize then and am only really starting to realize now the intense good the late performer’s words and music can do. John sang about what was on his heart and mind—you could say he wore his heart on his guitar. The amazing thing about his music is that it has a captivating energy that can move you out of your current place to a world of mountains, eagles, and horses or to the joy of falling in love, or to shaping the world like a potter’s wheel. John’s music never seemed to put on airs. You knew that the man singing those songs was real and what he sang was straight from the soul.

And so I grew up with his music. My folks and most other people have moved on to other avenues of music, and I have grown too. However, John’s music is still never too far away from my CD player—if not actually in the player itself.

Looking back over my years, I realize how much power the music had in shaping who I am. My concern for the environment is strong, and my love of the mountains and beauty of nature is intense. I’m fairly certain Country Roads and Rocky Mountain High had a lot to do with that. I play guitar and have wanted to learn only that instrument. Now, whenever I tickle the strings, John Denver’s music and style seem to flow out effortlessly. And most importantly, John and his music taught me how to be real, honest, and in tune with my self and emotions. Now that’s power!

I don’t seem to tire of this artist’s messages. A quick listen to This Old Guitar, and I’m back to a relaxed introspective mood. Playing Wild Montana Skies lifts my spirits to dazzling heights.

I’m very sad John passed out of this world so early in his life, but the power of his music and spirit live on. For example, I work with high school youth as a youth minister and physics teacher. I find it amazing that even in today’s youth, John’s music has a place in their lives. Of course, many haven’t heard of him until I have the opportunity to turn them to some of the artist’s great hits. But then it’s kind of amazing. Country Roads begins showing up on teen ipods. Yes, John’s music is indeed powerful–this I believe.