About the song:

John Denver’s Rhymes and Reasons. This folksy gem, released in 1969 as the title track for his debut studio album, serves as a wonderful introduction to the artist who would become a folk music icon. While Denver wouldn’t achieve superstardom until the early 1970s, Rhymes and Reasons lays the groundwork for his signature style – a blend of introspective lyrics, optimistic melodies, and a deep connection to nature.

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It’s important to remember the musical landscape of 1969. The folk revival was in full swing, with artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez leading the charge. Rhymes and Reasons reflects this cultural moment. Denver’s gentle acoustic guitar and introspective lyrics echo the social and political consciousness of the era. However, Denver also injects a distinctive warmth and optimism that would become his trademark.

Let’s delve a little deeper into the song itself. Rhymes and Reasons opens with a melancholic tone. The narrator encounters a friend filled with “sadness and the coming of the winter,” a metaphor for despair and hardship. The friend questions life’s purpose, wondering “where we’re going, where’s the rhyme and where’s the reason?” This existential angst was a common theme in folk music, and Denver doesn’t shy away from it.

But Denver doesn’t dwell on the darkness. The chorus offers a gentle counterpoint. The narrator finds solace in the natural world: “the graceful way of flowers in the wind.” This connection to nature, a recurring theme in Denver’s music, provides a sense of peace and grounding. The lyrics suggest that beauty and wonder can be found even in the midst of life’s challenges.

Read more:  John Denver – Looking for Space

Rhymes and Reasons is also notable for its hopeful message. The narrator assures their friend that “the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers,” emphasizing the importance of community and connection. Their “laughter and their loveliness” are seen as forces that can “clear a cloudy day.” This optimism, a core element of Denver’s music, would resonate with audiences yearning for a brighter future.

While Rhymes and Reasons may not be one of Denver’s biggest hits, it’s a significant song for several reasons. It showcases the early development of his signature style, blending folk influences with a warm and optimistic outlook.

The song also reflects the cultural and musical landscape of the late 1960s, offering a glimpse into a time of social change and artistic exploration. Ultimately, Rhymes and Reasons serves as a compelling introduction to John Denver, the artist who would go on to become a folk legend.

Video:

Lyrics:

“Rhymes And Reasons”

So you speak to me of sadness and the coming of the winter,
The fear that is within you now that seems to never end,
and the dreams that have escaped you and the hope that you’ve forgotten,
and you tell me that you need me now and you want to be my friend,
and you wonder where we’re going, where’s the rhyme and where’s the reason?

And it’s you cannot accept: it is here we must begin to seek the wisdom of the children
and the graceful way of flowers in the wind.
For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers,

Read more:  John Denver – The Eagle and the Hawk

their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.
Like the music of the mountains and the colors of the rainbow,
they’re a promise of the future and a blessing for today.Though the cities start to crumble and the towers fall around us,
the sun is slowly fading and it’s colder than the sea.

It is written: From the desert to the mountains they shall lead us,
by the hand and by the heart, they will comfort you and me.
In their innocence and trusting they will teach us to be free.

For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers,
their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.
And the song that I am singing is a prayer to non-believers,
come and stand beside us we can find a better way.