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'Country Roads' again pushed for state song

February 10, 2014
Weirton Daily Times

PRINCETON (AP) - Dreama Denver says West Virginia's image is tied across the world to "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and the tune should be designated as one of West Virginia's official state songs.

Denver, the widow of actor Bob Denver, is continuing her push to have the song designated as a state song.

She told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and Kathy Mattea performed the song during West Virginia's 150th anniversary celebration last year. It also was played at the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd's funeral in 2010.

"Take Me Home, Country Roads" has been recorded in French, Finnish, Czech, Slovenia, Japanese and German, Denver said, in addition to being played around the world.

"We are identified favorably all over the world by the lyrics of 'Take Me Home, Country Roads.' Their whole vision of West Virginia is tied up in the song all over the world," Denver said. "When the first four words are 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia, that says it all, doesn't it? I want to see this happen."

She began her effort to have the song designated as a state song in 2012 when it was played on the Little Buddy Radio show, "Sunny Side Up." A caller asked if "Take Me Home, Country Roads" was the official state song.

"We decided right there and then that we should start a campaign to have it adopted as one of West Virginia's state songs. It's not going to replace anything. It just gets added to the list," she said.

West Virginia has three official state songs: "The West Virginia Hills," ''West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home," and "This Is My West Virginia."

Delegate Marty Gearhart, R-Mercer, has introduced a resolution in the House of Delegates that would add "Take Me Home, Country Roads" to the list.

"Everyone knows it worldwide," Gearheart tells the newspaper. "It's a feel-good song about West Virginia, and it's a good marketing tool. I have anecdotal evidence; everybody automatically associates it with us."

State Sen. Bill Cole, R-Mercer, said he would support Gearhart's resolution in the Senate.

"The song is known worldwide, you know, and regardless of culture or language barrier, people know 'Country Roads.' It would serve to improve and enhance the image of West Virginia not only in the nation, but also around the world. Even if they can't speak English, they know 'Country Roads,'" Cole said.

 
 

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