April 2, 2007 in News

The Cowboy Song

Welcome to my entry devoted to “The Cowboy Song” originally sung by Tom Hanks in the movie Joe vs. the Volcano. Here you will find my version of the song, as well as the chords and lyrics and a little bit of information. (If you want an MP3s of Tom Hanks singing this, sorry, I can’t help you there.) However, if you just want information about the song or you’re looking for the lyrics and/or tabs, keep reading.

This is the song that made me want to learn ukulele in the first place. When my wife was pregnant with our twins I decided that I wanted to be able to play and sing this to them, so I bought a cheap ukulele and started teaching myself chord changes and strumming patterns. Before too long, I was playing “The Cowboy Song” as well as writing my own songs.

The song was written by John Patrick Shanley for the film. I contacted Mr. Shanley and asked him if I could cover the song on a new album of children’s music, and he graciously agreed (thanks, John!). So here’s my take on the song. I figured that when Joe Banks is singing this in the movie he’s singing a song he’d heard somewhere before, so I tried to imagine what that ‘original’ song would have sounded like. This is what I came up with (click the Play button to give it a listen):

Okay, that’s it for my shameless self-promotion. Now how do you play it?

There are only two chords in this song. In the movie, I think Tom Hanks plays F and C, or maybe he’s tuned a semi-tone up from GCEA so he’s actually playing F# and C#. I play them as G and D7 which is a little better for my singing range. Pick whichever chords work for you, and use a capo if you want to play in different keys using the chord shapes you are most comfortable with.

The complete lyrics and chords of the song are as below. The part in italics were in the screenplay but not in the film.

Ee he o he-o [G]cowboy
Ee he o he-o [D7]oooo
Ee he o he-o cowboy, cowboy, cowboy
Under the [G]moon.

I was ridin’ my [G]horse
by the Rio Grand[D7]ee
and all o’ them coyotes singing
in a prairie [G]symphony.

I was ridin’ my [G]horse
down by the Rio Grand[D7]ee
when I seen me a cowboy, cowboy, cowboy,
ridin’ toward [G]me.

Ee he o he-o [G]cowboy
Ee he o he-o [D7]oooo
Ee he o he-o cowboy, cowboy, cowboy
Under the [G]moon.

He was twirling his [G]guns
And he had a gui[D7]tar
And we sang us up a sweet old
song about love
Under the [G]stars

Ee he o he-o [G]cowboy
Ee he o he-o [D7]oooo
Ee he o he-o cowboy, cowboy, cowboy
Under the [G]moon.

[G]Giddyup!

If you just want to learn how to play it as an instrumental, William LaBerdia put together some tabulature here in a couple different keys for you to try.

This is an easy enough song that a simple DOWN-UP-DOWN-UP strum should work quite nicely. No need for anything fancy with this one.

I hope you found this information helpful, and I hope you enjoyed my version of the song. Please leave some feedback in the comments section below. Why did you visit this page today? What were you looking for, and did you find it? Do you play the ukulele? I’d love to hear from you!

Giddyap!

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