Fifteen years after John Denver's death in a plane crash, ATO Records announced Wednesday that it was preparing a tribute album to the late singer-songwriter best known for gentle folk-pop hits such as "Rocky Mountain High" and "Take Me Home, Country Roads."
"The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver," due out in February, will include contributions by a bevy of respectful rootsy-indie types, including Lucinda Williams, Brandi Carlile, Old Crow Medicine Show and ATO co-founder Dave Matthews, who's been covering Denver's "Take Me to Tomorrow" on the road of late.
L.A.'s Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes are also slated to appear, as is My Morning Jacket with a version of "Leaving on a Jet Plane," the Denver composition famously performed by Peter, Paul & Mary.
"The Music Is You" isn't the first Denver tribute album seemingly designed to rehabilitate the performer's reputation among younger listeners. In 2000, Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters oversaw "Take Me Home: A Tribute to John Denver," with tracks by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Low and Rachel Haden of the recently reunited That Dog. (Listen to Kozelek's still-lovely "Around and Around" below.)
Unlike ATO's compilation, "Take Me Home" didn't contain a song by Train, which has worked up a rendition of "Sunshine on My Shoulders" for "The Music Is You." But maybe that was one of the earlier record's strengths?
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