Photo: Neil Krug

Lana Del Rey – Take Me Home, Country Roads

After an eventful year of new music releases, Grammy nominations, and touring across the country, Lana Del Rey is fondly reflecting on the memories she’s made with her cover of the late John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The cover arrives just after the wrap-up of Del Rey’s summer and fall tour that saw her hitting states from Texas to North Carolina.

Denver’s classic song was originally released in 1971 and featured on his fourth studio album Poems, Prayers & Promises. Most notably, traces of Denver’s Americana influence on Del Rey can be heard in her ninth studio album Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd’s “The Grants,” when she compassionately sings, “I’m gonna take mine of you with me / Like Rocky Mountain High / The way John Denver sings.”

In the same vein, Del Rey’s past few albums have been riddled with naturalistic imagery that reflects a yearning for a down-to-earth lifestyle. On Chemtrails Over the Country Club, she makes reference to themes of wanderlust and Yosemite. While on her most recent record, the singer muses about Midwestern landscapes and the homey element of coastal regions.

Del Rey adds her signature flair on “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” incorporating delicate vocals with dreamy piano and string instrumentals that mimic the idealistic simplicity of a life out in the country. Towards the end of the song, a choir of vocals joins in to make for a stirring finale that closely resembles the vocal work on “The Grants.” The track was produced by Del Rey’s longtime friend and collaborator Zachary Dawes, who worked with the singer on Blue Bannisters and Norman Fucking Rockwell. 

The endearing cover art for Del Rey’s single features her sister Chuck Grant, Del Rey, herself, and her niece Phoenix. The three sit atop a boat that displays a Phoenix motor in a monochromatic color, further emphasizing the important role that family plays in the singer’s life.

Her cover of Denver’s song comes as no surprise, following her recent string of country-leaning covers over the course of the year. While on tour, Del Rey covered Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” and made an appearance on stage during country-rock artist Lukas Nelson’s show for a performance of “Find Yourself” in Nashville. Most recently, Del Rey performed a cover of The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” at Elvis Presley’s Graceland for an NBC holiday special.