Saint John

Release Date: June 16, 2024
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John, can you hear the music where you are
Can you still draw down the sun with your guitar
Do you still know how to heal a heart with a reason and a rhyme
Did you know that you were running out of time
Did you know that you were running out of time

John, can you feel the wind up where you are
Did you finally get to ride your shooting star
Do you fly on wings of eagles like you flew on wings of steel
Was there someone there to catch you when you fell
Was there someone there to catch you when you fell

John, can you touch the mountains where you are
Do you trace your fingers over every scar
Do you kneel beside Her rivers, do you weep beside Her streams
Are Her pathways still the landscape of your dreams
Are Her pathways still the landscape of your dreams

John, can you hear Her crying where you are
Is She dying, John? Did we finally go too far
Do the shadows of the starlight look different from above
Do you still believe we’re worthy of your love
Do you still believe we’re worthy of your love

John, can you see the sunrise where you are
Were the gifts you gave us sent from Baltazar
Did you know your poems and promises are offered up in prayer
Is anybody listening up there
John, tell me you’re still listening up there


Music & lyrics by Faith Michele Current

Lead vocal — Faith Michele Current
Acoustic guitar, percussion, bass — Dusty Hughes
Cello — Fraser Comtois
Violin — Holly Babbette Cox
Co-produced by Dusty Hughes and Faith Michele Current
Mixed/mastered by Dusty Hughes

© 2020 Bluebird Flying Music

Cover art © 2016 John Dimas. Statue of John Denver, “Spirit,” by Sue DiCicco, installed at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

Liner Notes

We think of a tribute as a gesture that honors someone, and of course, that’s true. But lost in that more modern interpretation is the original meaning -- tribute as a ritual debt paid to a king.

“Saint John” is both, but perhaps more the latter than the former.

It’s hard to overstate the debt I owe JD. He blew into my life like a wildfire over a dry prairie, and it’s hard to fully describe -- impossible, really -- the experiences I’ve had with JD’s music over the past year.

The way his music connects me to something I lost so long ago that I’d forgotten it was even there.

The way his songs give me shelter when I’m frightened, and then coax me out of hiding when it’s time to face the world again.

The way his voice and his guitar wrap themselves around me like a magician’s cloak of colors and shapes and sounds that swirl into a spire of light and love and passion that reaches into the heavens and touches the face of God.

I'm a non-religious person living in a secular culture, a culture without any universally-acknowledged sacred or inspirational figures to unite us (with the possible exception of Dolly Parton). Those of us who don’t connect with a specific faith tradition are left to find our own saints, our own holy men and women.

For myself and for many others around the world, John Denver is such a man. His mission to spread love, compassion, empathy and connection, his call to fiercely protect our Earth and its creatures above all else, his ability to be the keeper of my better self, of my love and compassion, and to hold it for me until I feel strong enough to pick it up again -- all of this and more makes him, in my firm conviction, a holy man. And thus the title of this song.

On October 12, 1997, Saint John fell from the sky. As he soared over the Pacific Ocean, his experimental plane ran out of fuel and plunged into the sea. Millions around the world mourned. President Clinton sent a message of condolence. The governor of Colorado ordered flags lowered to half-mast. An irreplaceable voice, a holy man, lost.

This song is for you, John. The payment on a sacred debt -- a tribute -- for the gifts you gave to me and to the world. For all of our sakes, I hope you’re listening up there.

*Thank you to writer James Ware, whose post on the JD FB group inspired the idea for the lyrics.
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