John Denver was an environmentalist before it was fashionable and a man who wasn’t afraid to sing about his deep love for the earth and his wife. While only a few radio stations are still playing his music, his many albums sold millions of times during his singing career from 1969-1997. Those of us in the audience on the opening night were quick to sing along, spreading Denver’s joy and love throughout the theater.
Tribute artist Jim Curry, whose voice was featured in the CBS TV movie Take Me Home: The John Denver Story, has performed Denver’s music on sold-out shows across the country and is now the top performer of Denver’s great legacy of Multi -Platinum hits. Jim’s uncanny ability to mirror John’s voice and clear appearance takes you back in time when “Rocky Mountain High” “Sunshine” “Calypso” and “Annie’s Song” topped the charts, and his popular music carried the heartfelt message of caring for the earth and caring for one another.
What makes Curry’s presentation so welcoming is the multimedia collection of photos and videos from Denver’s life that was shown on a big screen behind Curry and his two companions, his wife Anne, for whom he sang “Annie’s Song” at their wedding. and the beautiful Diana on a selection of flutes. These impressive images included many idyllic Rocky Mountain settings, the wheat fields of Oklahoma in Denver’s youth (the inspiration for his song “Matthew”), the oceans and their many inhabitants, and scenes from his other love, flying, during “Eagles and Horses “, accompanied by images of wild horses and bald eagles roaming free, soaring and floating in the clear air of the Rocky Mountains.
Audience participation was encouraged throughout the show, and along with the singing along and clapping, there was plenty of howling lyrics in response to Curry’s wolf howl during “Yellowstone, Coming Home.” The many photos of “singing” wolves certainly inspired me to take part!
During the concert, Curry shared his vast knowledge of Denver’s life to introduce the songs of this amazing Grammy-winning American legend. For example, “He was born in the summer of his 27th year” is a text from “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and was inspired by Denver’s first visit to Aspen, Colorado, a place he will be for the rest Would call home his life and the inspiration for many of his most popular songs.
“Country Roads” mentions that West Virginia is “almost heaven,” but Denver has certainly walked many highways in its beloved Rocky Mountains, a place so close to heaven on earth to him. The photos and videos shown during Rocky Mountain High are sure to open you to the wonders that made up such a large part of Denver’s life.
One of my favorite songs is “Sunshine on my Shoulder,” which I remember sitting in my favorite redwood grove on the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz, CA. Curry sang this song while pictures were shown from the John Denver Sanctuary in Aspen, where many of the large boulders are labeled with Denver’s song lyrics. It’s a perfect tribute to a perfect Rocky Mountain singer / songwriter and a place I will hopefully visit someday to recapture the joy I felt sitting in the redwoods with Denver’s music to my ears.
Denver died on October 13, 1997 when its small plane crashed in Monterey Bay. I would like to believe that the dolphins and whales he loved so much and studied aboard Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso called him home. May he rest in peace and may his music live forever in our hearts and souls. And as long as Jim Curry is traveling the world, channeling Denver’s mind with his perfect physical expressions and sound, you have the chance to celebrate life with him.
El Portal Theater in association with Off Broadway Productions (a division of Rock N Roll Inc.) proudly present Country Roads: A John Denver Celebration with Jim Curry, a multimedia music production celebrating the music, life and legacy of John Denver at the Monroe Forum Theater on El Portal in the NOHO Arts District, North Hollywood, CA. This special commitment with ten performances will be presented from April 3 to 13, 2014.
For tickets and information, call the El Portal Box Office at 818-508-4200 or order online: www.elportaltheatre.com. The El Portal Theater is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd in the heart of the NoHo Arts District in North Hollywood, California.