"Blue Ridge Mountains" as written by and Townes Van Zandt....
Light up with me my dear,
Light up.
Under stormy night, tell nobody.

My brother where do you intend to go tonight?
I heard that you missed your connecting flight,
to the blue ridge mountains, over near Tennessee.

You're ever welcome with me any time you like,
Let's drive to the country side, leave behind some green-eyed look-a-likes,
So no one gets worried, no.
So no one gets worried, no.

But Sean don't get callous,
I'm sure it'll be fine.
I love you, I love you,
Oh brother of mine.

In the quivering forest,
Where the shivering dog rests,
I will do it grandfather,
Wilt to wood and end.
And the river got frozen,
And the hole got snowed in,
And near the moon glow ride,
Till the morning light.

Terrible am I child?
Even if you don't mind,
In the quivering forest,
Where the shivering dog rests,
I will do it grandfather,
Wilt to wood and end.
And the river got frozen,
And the hole got snowed in,
And near the moon glow ride,
Till the morning light.

Terrible am I child?
Even if you don't mind,
No.


Lyrics submitted by obnoxious, edited by RamuneDrink, mindfckd4life, Pagan, Salvar, jcovarru, Swirlyink, yayscience120, midnightcowboy, tangential1

"Blue Ridge Mountains" as written by Townes Van Zandt

Lyrics © BUG MUSIC O/B/O KATIE BELLE MUSIC

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Blue Ridge Mountains song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationI think the song is about a fellow who has a brother who he considers to be on the wrong track in life in some kind of way. The people who know him are all worried for him. He says "I heard you missed your connecting flight to the Blue Ridge Mountains" possibly indicating that the path his brother took was sudden and divergent from what others expected. The song addresses his brother "you're welcome with me any time you like"; it would seem the other sibling simply wants his brother back so he could be set straight or helped, or perhaps the sibling simply wants him "back" metaphorically, e.g. to return to how he once was. The chorus about the shivering forest, dog, wooden home their grandfather built, etc., seems to be a collection of images that I'm guessing reference an undeniable and shared past between the two brothers, to remind the one of who he is or at least used to be.
    Eleoon March 23, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commentmy 2 cents. shivering forest, shivering dog rests....our good grandfather built a wooden nest (forest, rests, nest)
    Nest=house (that got snowed in).

    One idea is robin's brother sean moved to NYC..could he be callous (not sure) i lived there for 5 years was a little de sensitised i'm sure.
    nathanielcon August 06, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is addressed to his literal older brother, Sean Pecknold.
    samuelhgarfieldon August 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlike someone already said i think this about two brothers who have drifted apart. Maybe they don spend as much time as they did when they were kids or even teens. I think that robin writes the song in the way were he is telling his brother to just sit down and remember their old memories together, and that they should become closer as brothers.
    wsoliz90on April 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOk... so I looked through these comments on what this song meant to people, and since I didn't see any comment that resembled what I really think this song means, I decided to create an account and put this up. That being said, I also want to say one more thing... This is simply my opinion, and I do not want to offend anyone or discredit anyone else's interpretation, because I really appreciate everyone else's well thought out points of view.
    Alright, onto my interpretation...


    I think that this song is an allusion to a closeted homosexual encounter. To put it bluntly. I think this song is full of sexual innuendo, and since it is alluding to a relationship between two males, I think I am justified in saying it. I know that many people say that this is supposed to be addressed to the lead singer’s brother Sean, and that is a completely valid point to have. And I am in no way suggesting that this homosexual relationship is incest either, because, like I said, the song does not come right out and say that this is about a gay relationship, and perhaps it is addressed to the brother, but that does not mean that in the back of the writer’s mind that this fraternal brotherly love does not go beyond that and become something more. Saying this, I want to let potential readers and future interpreters know that I would hate to be thought of as someone who could interpret everything as queer, or see every plutonic relationship as somehow gay. I really do think these connotations are there, so please bear with me before you judge me too severely. Let me break it down the way I see it…
    First stanza, “lie down with me my dear…. Tell nobody.” My Interpretive Meaning: This is a secret love.
    Third stanza, “let’s drive to the country side / leave behind some green eyed look alikes… so no one gets worried, no.” My Interpretive Meaning: Let’s escape to the country side. I am guessing that the singer is coming up with a fantasy of leaving behind “green eyed look alikes,” so that they could go off and be with each other and so that no one will realize that they are gone. Of course, that is a basic, all encompassing interpretation, but it changes context when you think of it in terms of a romantic relationship.
    Fourth stanza, “but Sean don’t get careless / I’m sure it’ll be fine.” My Interpretive Meaning: Sean, the person that the singer is singing about / to is having hesitation to doing this, because of the secrecy that must be kept. “I love you… oh brother of mine,” I believe is part of this reassurance to Sean, also demonstrating that despite the secrecy, there is love there. When the singer says “brother,” I do not believe he is speaking literally, but instead he is using it in more of an intimate and fraternal bond. They are more than friends, but because of their secrecy they are not lovers, even if they love each other. Therefore they must take on the more heteronormative masculine relationship label of “brother.”
    The fifth stanza refers to a snowed in cabin (wooden nest) in the woods. However, my argument does suffer from the literal brother flaw in line three when the singer says “OUR good grandfather.” Saying this though, I like @Troup ‘s interpretation that the place that they are going is something that they do not share as literal brothers, but instead a place that was built for them by someone from a past generation meant for a future generation. Continuing on, this stanza is one that I find the most visual and the most romantic. A snowed in cabin in the woods with our two male figures this song presents us with. “And the yellow moon glowed bright / Till the morning light,” sounds to me like that glowing light could be referring to romantic love that glowed bright all night. Either way, both of these men must have been up all night to realize that the yellow moon glowed bright till the morning light, anyways.
    The final stanza, “Terrible am I child? Even if you don’t mind / no,” refers to the singer’s feelings of regret. Now, this regret could come in several different forms I think. What I like to believe is that this regret is in regards to the singer asking Sean, who is younger (referred to as a child, but not literally so), if he should feel bad about what has happened. I think that “no” is Sean’s answer, which I think that means that this is a fraternal way of returning the “I love you” to the singer, by saying that this was not something he (Sean) regrets.
    The second form of regret I believe could be looked at as a sort of rhetorical perspective. The singer is rhetorically asking us if what he did was bad. Even if we don’t mind… meaning even if we don’t mind if he was attracted to this man. And the no is also rhetorical in the sense that the singer is gathering a rhetorical answer from all of us saying “no, it doesn’t/shouldn’t matter.”
    The third form of regret I believe comes from the perspective that, if we read “terrible am I child” without a question mark, we have a statement that says is the singer admitting he feels like he is terrible, which continues on to “even if you don’t mind,” saying that even if Sean does not mind what has transpired, he still is terrible for what he has done. With the song finishing by saying “no,” we as listeners must think about whether or not this context is the singer answering or stating that “no, actually I’m not terrible,” or if it is Sean saying “no, I don’t mind,” or if it is used in a similar context as in the third stanza in the lines “so no one gets worried, no.” “So no one gets worried, no” is spoken as to say, “we are doing this so no one gets worried, no one will get worried.” In that sense, the last two lines of the final stanza would be “even if you don’t mind what has transpired, no you don’t mind what has transpired.” In this sense, the third interpretation is similar to the first sub interpretation of my third interpretation of the final stanza… Yeah, that last line was a mouthful, hah ha.
    Soooooo, what do you think? I know there are plenty of interpretations on here already, and I really like some of them, especially the ones that you can tell were done by a person who really took the song to heart and took a good portion of time to write a response. Hopefully who ever reads this finds my interpretation worthwhile, even if you do not agree with it. Thank you for your time!
    shortbus123abcon June 07, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOk... so I looked through these comments on what this song meant to people, and since I didn't see any comment that resembled what I really think this song means, I decided to create an account and put this up. That being said, I also want to say one more thing... This is simply my opinion, and I do not want to offend anyone or discredit anyone else's interpretation, because I really appreciate everyone else's well thought out points of view.

    Alright, onto my interpretation...


    I think that this song is an allusion to a closeted homosexual encounter. To put it bluntly. I think this song is full of sexual innuendo, and since it is alluding to a relationship between two males, I think I am justified in saying it. I know that many people say that this is supposed to be addressed to the lead singer’s brother Sean, and that is a completely valid point to have. And I am in no way suggesting that this homosexual relationship is incest either, because, like I said, the song does not come right out and say that this is about a gay relationship, and perhaps it is addressed to the brother, but that does not mean that in the back of the writer’s mind that this fraternal brotherly love does not go beyond that and become something more. Saying this, I want to let potential readers and future interpreters know that I would hate to be thought of as someone who could interpret everything as queer, or see every plutonic relationship as somehow gay. I really do think these connotations are there, so please bear with me before you judge me too severely. Let me break it down the way I see it…

    First stanza, “lie down with me my dear…. Tell nobody.” My Interpretive Meaning: This is a secret love.

    Third stanza, “let’s drive to the country side / leave behind some green eyed look alikes… so no one gets worried, no.” My Interpretive Meaning: Let’s escape to the country side. I am guessing that the singer is coming up with a fantasy of leaving behind “green eyed look alikes,” so that they could go off and be with each other and so that no one will realize that they are gone. Of course, that is a basic, all encompassing interpretation, but it changes context when you think of it in terms of a romantic relationship.

    Fourth stanza, “but Sean don’t get careless / I’m sure it’ll be fine.” My Interpretive Meaning: Sean, the person that the singer is singing about / to is having hesitation to doing this, because of the secrecy that must be kept. “I love you… oh brother of mine,” I believe is part of this reassurance to Sean, also demonstrating that despite the secrecy, there is love there. When the singer says “brother,” I do not believe he is speaking literally, but instead he is using it in more of an intimate and fraternal bond. They are more than friends, but because of their secrecy they are not lovers, even if they love each other. Therefore they must take on the more heteronormative masculine relationship label of “brother.”

    The fifth stanza refers to a snowed in cabin (wooden nest) in the woods. However, my argument does suffer from the literal brother flaw in line three when the singer says “OUR good grandfather.” Saying this though, I like @Troup ‘s interpretation that the place that they are going is something that they do not share as literal brothers, but instead a place that was built for them by someone from a past generation meant for a future generation. Continuing on, this stanza is one that I find the most visual and the most romantic. A snowed in cabin in the woods with our two male figures this song presents us with. “And the yellow moon glowed bright / Till the morning light,” sounds to me like that glowing light could be referring to romantic love that glowed bright all night. Either way, both of these men must have been up all night to realize that the yellow moon glowed bright till the morning light, anyways.
    The final stanza, “Terrible am I child? Even if you don’t mind / no,” refers to the singer’s feelings of regret. Now, this regret could come in several different forms I think. What I like to believe is that this regret is in regards to the singer asking Sean, who is younger (referred to as a child, but not literally so), if he should feel bad about what has happened. I think that “no” is Sean’s answer, which I think that means that this is a fraternal way of returning the “I love you” to the singer, by saying that this was not something he (Sean) regrets.

    The second form of regret I believe could be looked at as a sort of rhetorical perspective. The singer is rhetorically asking us if what he did was bad. Even if we don’t mind… meaning even if we don’t mind if he was attracted to this man. And the no is also rhetorical in the sense that the singer is gathering a rhetorical answer from all of us saying “no, it doesn’t/shouldn’t matter.”
    The third form of regret I believe comes from the perspective that, if we read “terrible am I child” without a question mark, we have a statement that says is the singer admitting he feels like he is terrible, which continues on to “even if you don’t mind,” saying that even if Sean does not mind what has transpired, he still is terrible for what he has done. With the song finishing by saying “no,” we as listeners must think about whether or not this context is the singer answering or stating that “no, actually I’m not terrible,” or if it is Sean saying “no, I don’t mind,” or if it is used in a similar context as in the third stanza in the lines “so no one gets worried, no.” “So no one gets worried, no” is spoken as to say, “we are doing this so no one gets worried, no one will get worried.” In that sense, the last two lines of the final stanza would be “even if you don’t mind what has transpired, no you don’t mind what has transpired.” In this sense, the third interpretation is similar to the first sub interpretation of my third interpretation of the final stanza… Yeah, that last line was a mouthful, hah ha.

    Soooooo, what do you think? I know there are plenty of interpretations on here already, and I really like some of them, especially the ones that you can tell were done by a person who really took the song to heart and took a good portion of time to write a response. Hopefully who ever reads this finds my interpretation worthwhile, even if you do not agree with it. Thank you for your time!
    shortbus123abcon June 07, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'd like to agree with the people saying that the cabin (wooden nest, the home that gets snowed in) and the nature in the area itself is calling out to the singer.

    I myself have a brother and I know that the time when we go our own ways in life is quickly approaching. Though I am the elder brother in this case I know I don't want to lose touch with him or my sister when we're all on our own.

    -So the first lines of:

    Lie down with me my dear
    Lie down
    Under stormy night, tell nobody

    -Something is calling to me, a memory or a place perhaps.

    My brother, where do you intend to go tonight?
    I heard that you missed your connecting flight
    To the Blue Ridge Mountains, over near Tennessee

    You're ever welcome with me any time you like
    Let's drive to the countryside, leave behind some green-eyed look-a-likes
    So no one gets worried, no
    So no one gets worried, no

    But Sean, don't get careless
    I'm sure it'll be fine
    I love you, I love you
    Oh brother of mine

    -My brother is stranded at an airport on his way to the Blue Ridge Mountains, with no where to go, I call him up and invite him to stay at my house, he is always welcome in my home. We should go out to the country and leave our cares behind and be ourselves again. Then my brother tells me it's okay and there's no need to intrude, so I tell him to be careful, and he'll get home and tell him I love him.

    --I imagine it's either the passage of time or simple distance that hasn't necessarily estranged the two brothers, but more like the older brother has a family and they are what his majority of time, care, and attention goes to and the younger brother just wants him to be his brother again.

    In the quivering forest
    Where the shivering dog rests
    Our good grandfather
    Built a wooden nest
    And the river got frozen
    And the home got snowed in
    And the yellow moon glowed bright
    Till the morning light

    -This is all imagery depicting the sights they saw when they were younger, and the younger brother is recalling them all, precious times with his brother.

    Terrible am I child
    Even if you don't mind

    -Here I think the older brother really does not want to impose upon his younger brother (and genuinely feels he would be bothering him,) even though he does not mind lodging him. At the very end of the song, the younger brother tells his older brother he is no trouble.
    Wingdingoon April 13, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen the song tempo begins to rise, and Pecknold is nearly screaming lyrics (in a lovely way) the correct lyrics are "In the quivering forest/ where the shivering dog rests/ our good grandfather built a wooden nest... and the yellow moon glowed bright/ 'till the morning light"
    jacurdyon June 01, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo many wrong lyrics. I swear they used to be correct. Someone changed them to jackass lyrics that don't make any sense.
    mindfckd4lifeon March 08, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThis is a beautiful song and every line is relevant. It is about a one-time infidelity, long ago, between the narrator's wife and his elder brother. It occurred in the narrator's house in the woods in a snow storm (notice the use of the words 'nest' and 'home', rather than 'cabin' or 'house'). The narrator forgives and loves his brother and would like their relationship mended and as it was in their youth, but this is no longer possible. The brother cannot forgive himself. The 'shivering dog' that 'rests' describes the narrator in the aftermath of the affair. Also notice the sadness with which the opening lines are sung. The correct lyrics are below:

    Lie down with me, my dear.
    Lie down
    Under stormy night.
    Tell nobody.

    My brother, where do you intend to go tonight?
    I heard that you missed your connecting flight
    To the Blue Ridge Mountains, over near Tennessee.

    You're ever welcome with me any time you like.
    Let's drive to the countryside, leave behind some green-eyed look-a-likes,
    So no one gets worried, no.
    So no one gets worried, no.

    But Sean, don't get careless.
    I'm sure it'll be fine.
    I love you, I love you,
    Oh brother of mine.

    In the quivering forest,
    Where the shivering dog rests,
    Our good grandfather
    Built a wooden nest.
    And the river got frozen,
    And the home got snowed in,
    And a yellow moon glowed bright
    Til the morning light.

    Terrible I am, child.
    Even if you don't mind.

    In the quivering forest,
    Where the shivering dog rests,
    Our good grandfather
    Built a wooden nest.
    And the river got frozen,
    And the home got snowed in,
    And a yellow moon glowed bright
    Til the morning light.

    Terrible I am, child.
    Even if you don't mind.
    No.
    Paganon April 18, 2013   Link

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