'John Denver: A Rocky Mountain High' is a life celebration at Strathmore

|
Entertainment,Music,Marie Gullard

A 17-city concert tour pays homage to the two-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter John Denver, in live performances of his music performed by the former members of his band.

On Tuesday "John Denver: A Rocky Mountain High Concert" showcases vintage video of Denver performing his unforgettable catalog of songs, projected above the stage at Strathmore, while five musicians and a string quartet on stage accompany him, performing their parts as they had done in countless appearances before his untimely death in 1997.

"There are three of us from John's original band and we're playing the songs along with him, note for note, to his video," said Jim Horn, a saxophonist and woodwind player who was with Denver on and off from 1978 to 1995. "You'll hear an introduction and then we join in where the band normally played in the song. We're right there with him. He's on the screen and we're on the stage."

No stranger to back up, Horn, who got his start playing with Duane Eddy in the early 1960s, also recorded and toured with all four of the Beatles, the Righteous Brothers, the Beach Boys and Elton John, to name a few.

Onstage
John Denver: A Rocky Mountain High Concert
» Where: Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda
» When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
» Info: 301-581-5100; strathmore.org

"I was with John the longest, and also working in the recording studios in Hollywood at the same time," he explained. "John asked me to embellish the lyrics when he would write about the water, the birds and the ocean. I would emulate these sounds on my flute."

And Horn was kept busy. Denver released 23 studio albums over his lifetime and is probably best known for such iconic gems as "Sunshine On My Shoulders," "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Rocky Mountain High." Other band members who were part of Denver's musical entourage and who are with this current tour are bass guitarist, Alan Deremo, a band member from 1994 until Denver's death and Chris Nole on piano and keyboards, who also recorded and toured with artists such as the Oak Ridge Boys and Faith Hill. Drummer and percussionist Nate Barnes has toured the world headlining shows and opening for acts that include Van Halen, the Who and Aerosmith. The tour's music director, Jim Salestrom is an Emmy Award-winning songwriter and has worked with, among others, the Supremes, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.

"I think people will really enjoy seeing some old footage of John," Horne enthused. "It will bring back a lot of memories."

View article comments Leave a comment