Just when you thought John Denver’s most iconic hit can’t get any pluckier, this bluegrass band from Brandon, Missouri plays a road trip-perfect cover of “Take Me Home, Country Roads”.
This six-piece band takes “doing things with family” to a whole new level. Together with their family friend Emmett, siblings Katie, Ellen, Matt, Julianne, and their mom Karen, make up The Petersens.
The Petersens are an American roots band hailing from the Ozarks, bringing in a fresh take on the genre through their compositions and various covers.
Each member of the family has their part to play and as you can hear, they’re playing it really well.
Katie, the eldest of the bunch, is the musical leader of the family.
She’s the one responsible for arrangements with their mom helping with the chord sheets. While each sibling took piano lessons, they all get to pick another instrument to “specialize” in. Katie chose violin and took lessons weekly.
Ellen, the second eldest, is the one playing the banjo. She originally trained to play the drums but since bluegrass bands are an all-strings business, she chose to play the ringing tunes of the banjo instead. She also auditioned for American Idol for fun but ended up on the top 48,
Matt runs not only the rhythm guitars, but he also runs the operations of the band. From transportation logistics to scheduling, the family’s guitarist gets it done.
Julianne might be the youngest but her contribution to the band knows no “pecking order”. She’s the one who pushed for the family to upload their performances on YouTube, which allowed them to reach a wider audience. She’s the band’s mandolin player and on this cover, she’s the one singing the second vocals.
Emmet is a dobro player. Yes, we’re talking about the “guitar that you play like a keyboard”. After the members of his family band got married, he joined the Petersens and became a mainstay in the band ever since.
Tying up everything, as all moms do, Karen plays the stand-up bass. She also helps in arranging the songs on top of being a mother to all of them.
Together, they played this amazing bluegrass rendition of John Denver’s famous country song.
The ringing sounds of the strings and the harmonizing voices give the song a gentler depth that still reminiscent of longing and homesickness.
John Denver’s iconic hit is over 50 years old now, and seeing how various bands breathe new life to the song is a testament to what the people felt at the small club in Georgetown where the song was first played.
When John Denver performed the song that night in 1970, they had to tape the lyrics they wrote overnight on a mic stand.
But this seemingly impromptu song would bring Denver his first platinum record. It has since been covered by different artists in different genres like Oliva Newton-John, Ray Charles, Roy Acuff, and Lynn Anderson. Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s version included “West Makaha, Mount Ka’ala” while Yoko Honna made a Japanese version of the song. The song was also featured in the film The Kingsman and video game Fallout 76.
Adding to the long list of artists, The Petersens’ version has racked over 20 million views ever since it was posted on YouTube last year. Other songs that they covered include Mamma Mia by ABBA, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, and Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.
Watch this amazing performance from one talented family by clicking on the video below.
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