About the song

John Denver’s “Matthew”. A song that evokes a simpler time, a celebration of rural life and the profound impact of family. John Denver, a folksinger who rose to superstardom in the 1970s, was known for his optimistic outlook and his connection to nature. “Matthew” perfectly encapsulates these themes, offering a glimpse into the heart and soul of Americana.

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Released in 1974 on the album Back Home Again, “Matthew” stands out for its heartfelt sincerity. Unlike some of Denver’s more commercially-driven hits, this song feels deeply personal. It’s a testament to the enduring influence of fathers and the values instilled in their children.

The opening lines set the scene: “He came to ease my daddy’s burden, and he came to be my friend.” Denver paints a picture of a strong father figure, a pillar of support who lightens the load for his family. This theme of familial strength resonates throughout the song.

“Matthew” isn’t simply a tribute to a father, though. It delves into the formative experiences of childhood. Denver sings about “a windy Kansas wheat field” and “the Kansas summer sky,” highlighting the beauty and simplicity of rural life. These idyllic landscapes become the backdrop for lessons learned, shaping the young narrator’s perspective on the world.

The song’s chorus is a poignant reflection on these formative years: “Yes, and joy was just a thing that he was raised on, love was just a way to live and die. Gold was just a windy Kansas wheat field, blue was just the Kansas summer sky.” Denver emphasizes the simple joys and values instilled in a rural upbringing. Happiness isn’t found in material possessions but in the beauty of nature, the love of family, and the enduring strength of community.

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“Matthew” stands as a reminder of the profound impact parents have on their children. It’s a song that resonates with anyone who cherishes the memories of childhood and the lessons learned from parental figures. Musically, the song is a gentle ballad, featuring Denver’s signature warm vocals and a simple acoustic guitar arrangement. This stripped-down approach allows the lyrics to take center stage, further emphasizing the song’s emotional core.

“Matthew” may not be one of John Denver’s biggest hits, but it remains a beloved song among his fans. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling, capturing the essence of rural life, family bonds, and the enduring power of memories. So, when you listen to “Matthew”, take a moment to reflect on the people who shaped you, the values instilled in your youth, and the simple joys that make life beautiful.

Video

Lyrics

I had an uncle, name of Matthew, he was his father’s only boy.
Born just south of Colby, Kansas, he was his mother’s pride and joy.
Yes, and joy was just a thing that he was raised on,
love was just a way to live and die.

Gold was just a windy Kansas wheat field,
blue was just the Kansas summer sky.And all the stories that he told me back when I was just a lad.
All the memories that he gave me, all the good times that he had.
Growing up a Kansas farm boy, life was mostly having fun.

Riding on his daddy’s shoulders behind the mule, beneath the sun.
Yes, and joy was just a thing that he was raised on,
love was just a way to live and die.

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Gold was just a windy Kansas wheat field,
blue was just the Kansas summer sky.Well, I guess there were some hard times, and I’m told some years were lean.
They had a storm in ’47, twister came and stripped ’em clean.
He lost the farm, he lost his family, he lost the wheat, he lost his home.

But he found the family bible, his faith as solid as a stone.
Yes, and joy was just a thing that he was raised on,
love was just a way to live and die.
Gold was just a windy Kansas wheat field,
blue was just the Kansas summer sky.

So he came to live at our house, and he came to work the land.
He came to ease my daddy’s burden, and he came to be my friend.
So I wrote this down for Matthew, and it’s for him this song is sung.

Riding on his daddy’s shoulders, behind the mule, beneath the sun
Yes, and joy was just a thing that he was raised on,
love was just a way to live and die.

Gold was just a windy Kansas wheat field,
blue was just the Kansas summer sky.
Yes, and joy was just a thing that he was raised on,
love was just a way to live and die.

Gold was just a windy Kansas wheat field,
blue was just the Kansas summer sky.