Railroad Earth frontman Todd Sheaffer has created two songs out of previously unreleased John Denver lyrics, and the band has recorded them. They will be released, digitally, on April 22. That’s Earth Day; the date was chosen to honor Denver’s environmental work.
You can listen to one of the songs, the gentle, soulful ballad “If You Will Be My Lady,” below. The other song is titled “Through the Night.”
The Jersey-based band posted on its Facebook page, April 18: “What an honor to have been given the opportunity to shape these John Denver words into songs. And what an honor to bring these songs into the world! Hopefully we have been able to convey some of the warmth and emotional bravery we found in them into the songs and hopefully we’ve been able to channel some of John’s pure and open musical spirit into the recordings. It was fun to try and it was a pleasure to go back and connect again with an artist we’ve all known and loved for a long time. Hopefully John’s fans can do the same through these new songs.”
The band also noted that these are the last recordings it made with co-founder Andy Goessling, who died in October. Goessling “was a big JD fan and thrilled about this project,” the band wrote on Facebook.
According to an article on AmericanSongwriter.com, Denver’s estate came across the lyrics in 2017, and offered them to Railroad Earth. Denver died in 1997, at the age of 53.
“These are not cover songs,” group member Carey Harmon told AmericanSongwriter.com. “They are John’s words and definitely carry his spirit, but they are distinctly interpreted in Todd’s voice, and therefore felt completely natural for the band to gather around … John Denver represented so much to so many people, and it’s very exciting to think how these may be received. He was a man that never fit entirely into a mold, revered by the folk music community, while reaching beyond it in his own way.”
A portion of the proceeds from the two songs will be donated to the environmental organization, Youth Climate Strike.
For information, visit railroad.earth.
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