Jim Curry: Take Me Home. The Music of John Denver.

Submitted by Gretchen Cooney

A full house greeted Jim Curry as Season 5 of the concert series came to a close at the Rosemary Clausen Center for Performing Arts on Saturday.  Perhaps Ken Buell should take his show on the road as a psychic. He asked that we change things up a bit and greet the entertainers with a standing ovation at the beginning of the show. He was predicting that it would be well-deserved….and it was!

It is definitely cliché to say that the group took us down country roads, to remembrances in Grandma’s feather bed, to rollicking in wheat fields, to departures on jet planes and back home again. But that is just what they did–seasoned with a backdrop of videos that complemented the music throughout the evening. We soared with eagles, breathed the pine air of the mountains, felt the coolness of the waters and the snows, and swam with the dolphins.  Murmurs were heard throughout the audience as the songs were recognized and we were taken back in time….to places we’ve traveled, to sunshine we’ve felt (where else but on our shoulders?), to forgiveness we’ve sought and to perhaps, love.

Jim CurrySo many tribute shows attempt to imitate the featured artists; months ago, I feared this would be the case.  Being a John Denver fan for more than four decades, I really didn’t want anyone trying to be his replacement.  While John Denver’s voice came through (how many of us closed our eyes and imagined for a moment we were in the presence of the friend gone too soon), the individual style of each performer on stage was added to the mix.  The result was voices that blended as one…reminding us of, but not imitating the originals.  The instrumentation was excellent…enhancing the voices without overbearing them.  True professionals were on the stage; we were blessed to be there.

Yes, there was a standing ovation at the end…well deserved. And yes, there was an encore…but oh, what an encore!  Jim Curry took the stage alone (except for his guitar) with the final tribute to John Denver. With photos of John floating behind him, Jim topped off the night with a tender rendition of  “This Old Guitar.” At the conclusion, the house lights stayed down, to let us dry a tear or two? Maybe.  Or maybe just to be able to gently remember the man we still miss so very much.

There were abundant smiles of joy after the show.  Many people stayed after to meet and greet the people who helped us escape from our worlds for a couple hours. It truly was a celebration of the music of John Denver.  A comment oft’ heard was “How are you going to top this?”  Looking forward to Season 6!