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As I See It

February 6, 2016
 

John Denvers First Concert At The Red Rocks
A Full Moon - June 21st, 1972

I have been playing the guitar since I was 7 and playing in bands since I was 12. My brother Chuck and I started a band called Timberline in August of 1971. We were scheduled to play in Salina Kansas for four nights beginning June 18th, 1972.

We patterned ourselves after the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Our first set was dressed up nice (picture platform shoes and velvet spot coats of different colors) playing the songs of my hero John Denver. Also Elton John,  Cat Stevens, Dave Loggins, Michael Johnson - this was the listening acoustic set.  Then we changed clothes into jeans - vests and did a bluegrass / country rock set. Dirt Band, more John Denver, Ozark Mountain, Pure Prairie League.  Then we did a costume change into letter sweaters and we did a total 60's rock set&. all dance music.  These sets were all 75 minutes long.

Humbly I would say these shows were off the charts - by the end of the evening we had the audience bouncing off the walls. Eventually we would play 280 dates a year for 8 years, sign with EPIC RECORDS and open for Dolly Parton. We had the harmonies and a band as tight as any drum. We played some legendary nights - we set records - the clubs had beer sales off the charts&.

So we were booked for four nights at a huge Salina road house saloon  (The Green Lantern).

The young manager called us into his office after the first set and he said "your fired".  We couldn't believe it because we had never been fired in our lives for anything.  My older brother Chuck said, "we've come this far&.we'll play the rest of the evening if thats ok and you pay us for one night" The manager reluctantly said "OK" .

The 2nd set was really well received filling the dance floor and the 3rd set was off the charts with the place going wild.  The manager took us back into the office and said "OK - you're not fired"  My brother said "Nope&.you fired us and we are going home"  My brother said this because he knew I had a chance  to do the monitors for my hero John Denver at John's first concert at Red Rocks. I have never been so proud of my brother for his conviction and for opening the door for me to spend an entire day with someone I had admired since I was 12. 

It's the only time the band (and me) has ever been fired.

I was 16.


Stanal Sound from Kearney Nebraska  was started in Holdrege, Nebraska by Stan Miller.

My brother Chuck built two of the first A-7 cabinets with Stan's specs. Always Altec speakers and ground breaking results.

Stan built the company, quickly becoming the 3rd largest sound company in the nation doing sound for Simon and Garfunkel, Presidential candidates, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond (46 years this year, still mixing Neil Diamond) and John Denver.  Huge tours&huge amounts of equipment and talent to run this company.

We hung out with all the Stanal guys (growing up for me) and then touring with them when I joined Dolly Parton for 11 years.

They had the most beautiful sound systems and they were expensive, so they gravitated towards the higher end of the entertainment scale. But they over extended themselves just a bit, with commitments to do sound reinforcement for Alice Cooper at the Hollywood Bowl, Neil Diamond in Oregon, and a new artist John Denver at the Red Rocks. Stan and others knew how much I loved John Denver's music . I was the lead singer in a band that later signed to CBS and could sound like John when needed. I really wanted to see him in concert and his star was just about to launch him into the stratosphere.

So the people at Stanal Sound asked me if Id like to go out and run the monitors (speakers on the stage) and help drive the truck out and back. My eyes could not have been larger. We drove all night- arrived Saturday morning at about 4:00 a.m. and tried to sleep a bit under the truck (I dont remember why it was under the truck)  At about 9:00 am, we had union stage hands help us unload all the equipment. I remember releasing the latches on a flight case filled with mic stands when I heard a voice and a tap on my shoulder from behind. Can I help you? the voice said. In my largest adult voice I said No...these are John Denvers mic stands - this is my job and Im on it About this time I turned to see a laughing John Denver. He had come early to help in any way he could and wanted to help with the mic stands - I wasnt too embarrassed.

All that day and night he treated me like a little brother.

He asked me that afternoon to listen to a song he was going to premier-

He asked me if I liked it-

I will always remember that afternoon as he sang Rocky Mountain High-

I told him I thought it was the best-

I remember taking the 3 tennis balls out that he used to juggle-

I remember taking his guitars out and carefully laying them down.

I remember Megan McDonell singing in a pretty white dress and Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert  (Fat City) opening the show and returning to sing background vocals on their co-written hit with John, Take Me Home Country Roads. I remember lead guitarist Mike Taylor and string bassist extraordinaire Dick Kniss playing behind John. I remember criss-crossing under the stage about a million times that day through these hand-hewn tunnels!

And I will always remember the full moon coming up behind the stage (no stage roof or protection back then) as he sang Darcy Farrow and Rocky Mountain High for the very first time in Colorado at a Red Rocks concert.

It was Perfect!


There is no place like it on Earth to hear a concert.

To be there on stage&. realizing that history was in the making, just made it an incredible experience . I remember how nice he was to me that entire day and after the show.

I will always remember meeting his manager Jerry Weintraub.

I will always remember Red Rocks and the concert that changed my life for that was the beginning of a life-long friendship with a man that I really admired. I remember meeting him again in Omaha 4 months later and how he broke away from a large circle of reporters to cross the room and give me a hug. And I learned so much from his friend and producer- Kris O'Connor.

I sang with John in concert and spent a week recording on his album Different Directions as a background singer and instrumentalist.

I was asked to sing Rocky Mountain High at the Colorado State Capitol when the State of Colorado adopted Rocky Mountain High as the co-official State Song. It was an honor to co-ordinate the family's gift of John's last, most famous portrait,  to be given to the State of Colorado where it hangs in the Press Room of the Capitol today.  I loved John Denver's  positive attitude and will always sing his songs with the same love I felt &.when I heard him sing them.

John Denver first performed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on June 21, 1972  four months before Rocky Mountain High blew onto the charts.  Throughout the years he gave 16 more concerts at Red Rocks, the last show being in the summer of 1989.  He was the first artist to play four consecutive nights at Red Rocks.




October 21, 2014
 
Check out the great video the Nautilus crew made!



View more videos from the Nautilus



September 21, 2014
 

On board the Nautilus with Dr. Robert Ballard

Nautilus




August 31, 2014
 

Hi Folks!

What a Summer-
It all started with Pam and I joining our friends, John and MJ Gray, at Skibo Castle near Dornich Scotland to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. The Gray's hosted us at the famous Carnegie Club and it was fanceeee!! We will always be grateful to them.

Then I had the chance to play with bother brothers Chuck and Tom plus son James in a fantasy camp of musicians in June.

I had a great time in July at Senator Alan Simpsons home on the 4th of July to celebrate his and his wife Anne's 90th birthdays and their 60th wedding anniversary. I then spent my time in Northern California with so many talented musicians. I got to play with Livingston Taylor quite a few times, he is incredible and such a wonderful performer. I'm hoping we can do some shows together in the coming years. He's an amazing person and we have become good friends. Also had the chance to meet Garth Brooks, Kix Brooks, and hang out with Jimmy Buffet a bit, as well as Conan O'Brien and my pal Clint Black. Clint is such a kind soul and a great singer songwriter (this is turning into a name dropping thing- not my intention but what a cool summer).

At the end of July I traveled to McCook Nebraska, and had a great time with fiends at the Bieroc Bakery (Matt and Shelly Sehnert) and all the nice folks at the park with brother Chuck.

Next I spent a wonderful weekend in Carmel New York with friends Nancy and Bob Downey. I played some tennis, worked on a movie, sang with Marcus Lovett and met Malachy McCourt - just a delightful guy that I have always wanted to meet-great weekend! Then, Pam and I were off to the Shetland Islands. I'm producing a music festival there next summer - another place you should take your family someday. (For more about the Shetland Island trip read the August 23rd post)

Middle of August, sadly we lost Vincent our beloved schnoodle dog. I loved that little guy- Casey had to be the rock for all of us and I am very proud of her - it was really tough.

I had a wonderful show with Ken Miller at the Broadmoor's Pauline Chapel last Friday, what a beautiful place, and the Broadmoor Hotel was hopping for the Labor Day Weekend.

September starts with a trip to Seattle Washington to play a wedding for our dear friends' son and for us to see family and friends there. I am playing a concert for kids on Sept. 10th in Central City Nebraska, then a concert that night. They have a new performing arts center and I am excited to go back home to Nebraska for a day or two.

The next night is Big Sky MT at the famed Yellowstone Club- I'll see James and Casey (James' Birthday) then I fly back to Denver. Up to Rapid City and drive down to spend the weekend in Gordon Nebraska for the Willow Tree Festival. I wrote a theme song for them 27 years ago (It is on my Step In Time CD) and this is where I got the phone call on Sunday morning (26years ago) to come home right away as Pam was about to give birth to James in Vail. That was an exciting time and I will always be grateful to the nice folks in Gordon for getting me across the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to Rapid City to get on a Frontier flight back to Stapleton and then the VW Bug to Vail.

Then on September 16th, Pam and I fly to Trinidad, then Granada, to sail on Dr Robert Ballard's research vessel the Nautilus (he found the Titanic shipwreck) then directly on to Venice Italy for four days and a wonderful group of friends from the Bay Area, then boarding The Royal Clipper, a Windstar clipper ship, for Croatia, then another week in Italy, before flying home on October 10th. All this to say I'm going to figure out a way to watch the new Blacklist shows online. Blacklist on NBC is written and produced by a young fellow from Kearney NE. We got a note from Jo Nesbo---I hope we all meet someday - maybe in Norway.

October 12th has been put on hold at the Red Rocks. I think next year is going to be special there for a John Denver celebration.

Later in October has me in Lincoln for a very special wedding anniversary and a Big Red game. Then Florida for work and sun in November. There are the wonderful Christmas Shows again at the Broadmoor and Winter is going to be special with lots of skiing.

I have a new album out called Sweet Doin' Nothing. I'm thinking of a new one based on a new song called Fiddle Me Home. And I'm writing / recording a bunch of interviews with some folks I've met for a new radio show called on 710 KNUS AM in Denver on Saturdays with the ICOSA MEDIA folks.

The children are happy- I miss my Mom. I am so grateful to be married to Pam for 30 years. I hope you had a great Summer! I know you'll have a great Fall! Safe Home and thanks for your time!

Jim


August 23, 2014
 

The Shetland Islands are north of Scotland- They are very much a part of Great Britain. We flew to Edinburgh (beautiful city) then headed up to Grantown on Spey to stay with dear friends Frank and Debbie Strang. We flew from Inverness to Lerwick on the Mainland Island. I did a BBC interview that went all over Scotland and then we visited High Level Music where I played with store owner Brian Nicholson - he was brilliant on lead guitar - kinda like Albert Lea's little brother. Then we took a tour of Mareel Theater. Linda Anderson showed the new performing arts center and as she went to college at Vanderbilt in Nashville and knows everyone there- lots of folks I have only heard of, it was a fun time.

We then took 2 ferry boat rides and car rides which I partially slept through to arrive on the most northern island of Unst. (The Island Above All Others) Frank Strang was in the RAF (Royal Air Force) and had known about an air force base that was closing on Unst called Saxa Vord. After much deliberation he and Debbie bought the base (which had been remodeled into a very nice resort)

They promoted me in a concert at Baltasound Hall for Friday night August 15th. I was surprised to have Brian Nicholson play with me for the entire show- it was a packed house with 300 folks from the island cheering me on as well as Jennifer McCarthy&a school teacher with a great voice.

Pam and I toured the island on our own driving to the top of the treeless mountains to see firths (fiords), an incredible lighthouse called Muckel Flugga and the the outcrop of a small island called the Out Stack which is the northern most point of the United Kingdom. The history of the island is amazing for it's crops, sheep, and the ponies they call Shetlands. They were not bred that small but survived the harsh conditions and worked pulling plows and working in the coal mines carrying more weight than any other horse per it's size. They have been on the islands for 2000 years. Dating back to the Bronze Age. They are friendly and come right up, especially if you have carrots which we always have from Charlie's Market. We learned all this from Emily Strang, 11 years old and an up and coming guitar player/ singer / dancer like her older brother Thomas. The Shetland ponies each have their own passport and computer chip as they are protected. They have incredible coats as it rains a lot there.

We met a group of locals that act as a cross between the Chamber of Commerce-Kiwanis Club-Welcome Wagon but dress as Vikings (The vikings use to raid the Shetlands and even the dialect has been affected by the close proximity to Norway). These modern day Vikings take their role seriously and stayed the entire evening for the Open Mic night at the officer's Club at Saxa Vord. They managed to raise the roof for the many talented young and old performers who signed up and did their thing- They are an infectious lot and make everybody laugh.

The talented musicians in the Shetland Islands is above the norm and they are very much in tune and in touch with the modern music we hear everywhere as well as holding tight the traditional fiddle music of the Shetland Reel and the country music of the US through a famous musician named Thomas Frasier. We had a great time staying a very nice three bedroom town home-there are 30 of these plus they have beds for another 100 people and incredible grounds to camp. All this plus a micro brewery called Vahalla and Great Britain's most Northern distillery that makes Shetland Reel Gin.

I wrote a commercial for the gin and they unveiled the first cases at a tasting while we were there.

There is a full football (soccer) pitch made with Astro Turf next to the lodging perfect for a Bird Air tent structure (similar to Denver's teepee looking airport) and also a full blown airplane hangar not too far away for the a major Shetland Music Festival next August 2015. I am going to help Frank produce this with a wide range of diverse styles that combine some folks from the US with lots of talent for the Shetlands. We are hoping for a grand turn out and want you to think about joining us for the first one (think Fred at Telluride circa 1977) The Shetland Islands have a wonderful Folk Festival in the Spring (May) and we want to promote them as well as Mareel and all things cultural there. Our friends Mollie and Tim O'Brien have played there and Mollie is headed back with Rich Moore next year - we are going to ask if she'd like to do two trips-she's wonderful! I hope you'll tune in to 510 KNUS on Saturdays 1:00 to hear the ICOSA Radio program. It is insightful and it's wonderful to be a part of this new broadcast as their music contributor.


Jim just returned from a performance in the Shetland Islands
"This is the commercial song and newest version of the full song - it is still in a demo form. The Gin is wonderful and soon to be available in the US. And the scenery and people of Shetland are wonderful!"



"This is classic Jim Salestrom music, like a warm blanket on a cold night. I love it Jim"
~ Karan MacEachern Randall




May 31, 2014
 

Grantown Primary School

 

Jim is currently in Scotland and stopped in at the Grantown Primary School to performe for the kids on Tuesday, May 27th. The performance included: Puff the Magic Dragon, The Zoo Song, Cuddly Bear, Comin' Round The Mountain, Big Lippin', Take Me Home Country Roads and Rocky Mountain High.

 

 

The following story was related back to Jim: "Lots of mothers have been saying the kids really loved you. One said that her son Mathew came home singing Puff the Magic Dragon, she asked him why he was singing it and he told her about the concert and that the song had been written by Peter Paul and Wendy!"

 

Grantown Primary School

Skibo Castle




May 21, 2014
 

In January I was asked to deliver the annual Chamber of Commerce Speech in Kearney Nebraska - there were 500 people there and Governor Dave Heineman and his wife Sally. My Mom was not there but I read the speech to her earlier in Lincoln at Madonna Rehab Hospital.

This speech, this evening, is one of the craziest things I have ever done& or is it? Ive done some crazy things in my lifethere was that night at the Fireside Inn....

Travel Expert
I think Ive become one! Go Back in time with me to December 16th and Im near Gate 44 at Denver International Airport, headed for San Francisco. I arrive tonight with almost 1000 miles under my belt:

  • I'll wait two hours then take a red eye flight to Washington Dulles that gets into DC at 6:00 in the morning.
  • Ill then fly from Washington to NYC.
  • Then back to Denver arriving 1:46 in the tomorrow afternoon.

Ill have logged 5,647 miles that will bring my total mileage for the year on United to 100,000

  • I will finally make the 1K category that business people that live on an airplane achieve
  • The perks are 6 international upgrades to business class this year plus
  • 16-20 regional upgrades to first class

But That's crazy! Almost three months of 2013 sitting on airplanes - Keeping my Dream Alive.

Maybe it isnt crazy at all -my Dream has been coming true for along time now& since I was a little boy&.

My dream has always been to get to be a musician - to sing, play, and write music, and see as much of the world and have a loving family also.

Im Jim Salestrom, Jan and Virg Salestroms middle boy and as most of you know, Kearney is my hometown. I was born after older brother Chuck and before younger brother Tommy in Omaha on February 20, 1956.

Sputnik and the Cuban Missile Crisis - we lived in an Offut Air Force neighborhood and Mom got a call from an air force wife that put us all in a car and headed for Kansas City - Omaha was definitely a target.

I remember Charlie Starkweather and a pre-school for music - when I see Oreo's I think of whole notes, I remember standing on a seat and singing Gigi at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha at the top of my lungs at intermission. I remember my Mom never did anything to stop me. I remember Mom taking Chuck and Tom and me to the classical music programs with the Omaha Symphony and or course we listened to our parents in awe as they sang each Sunday in church well into their 80s.

Guitar and Teachers
Elvis and the Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show and for some reason I wanted a guitar more than anything else in the world. We moved to Beatrice and I got my first guitar on my 7th birthday. The folks got it from McCabes Music and Dale Whitcomb gave me lessons until we got to bar chords, he said I needed to have more strength and length. Chuck and I got our first electrics in grade school (Sears Silvertones) and everyone had a garage band back then (something incredible happened with rock and roll and something that's so sorely missed today).

Piano lessons for six years for both Chuck and me. Bassoon for Chuck. Mom took us back and forth to Lincoln so Chuck could learn to play the burping bedpost. Then we moved to Holdrege. You dont remember me do you? I get this a lot from people, and Im always in the wrong place to get their name exactly right, but then again they are too... and I always say Holdrege? with a slight question mark in my voice, and they always nod and smile&

Holdrege Nebraska has the most incredible self esteem and they pass this along to their children. I dont think its just the Swedish thing&. I think it started with the community - Verle Stratmann and trickled down through Norm MacIntosh. Amazing talented motivating intimidating genius teachers that gave my brothers and me a hand-up like you wouldnt believe. I wanted to play the drums in 5th grade band, Mr. Verle Stratmann (the high school band director with a ton of awards was creating his own farm team) said sure, every little boy wants to play the drums in 5th grade but what I really need is a trombone player. Gawd no& not the trombone?????? No way - I cant sing and play the trombone. I started to learn and I was 1st chair in 6th grade going into 7th grade (Now this is really important so dont go to sleep yet)

I went into 7th grade thinking I was pretty smart - all As with Mr. Alan Woods as my 6th grade teacher. He read Tom Sawyer to us and he played the opera Aida to us. The 7th grade kicked my behind. I started getting Ds and to make it worse the band leader - this sadistic Marine named Mr. Norm Macintosh put me second to the last chair in the 2nd band (did you get that??? 2 bands middle school - Jr. High). He said if I would practice he would help me back to the first band, and who knows, if I was willing to practice an hour each day, hed think about my future. I took lessons at 7:30 and Mr. Macintosh smoked Camel straights, blew the smoke in my face and physically struck me in the belly with his fist - I never told anyone - he was crazy - I was scared crazy. He also was one of the best teachers I ever had. And I became very good on the trombone. I could sight read college material, classical material and that was the instrument I learned to play best, better than the guitar and much better than the banjo. That was a joke to keep your dream alive & that this wouldnt be too dull. We recorded Tchaikowskys March Slave at the end of the year and it was produced on vinyl. It was better than most college symphonies. I made 1st chair in the 7th grade.

Norm Macintosh taught a freshman college class in music theory to 7th graders (let me say that again) Norm taught a freshman college class in music theory to 7th graders and he taught me how to breath. This is a huge thing to learn when you are 13. It is something that made me the singer I still am today. I can still get up there and sing, because he taught me how to relax these muscles and sing from the belly (or I might just hit you again) I learned more from those two people about music then you could imagine, until we moved to Kearney in 1969. And they had added so much fuel to keep my dreams alive.

We moved to Kearney. Dad continued managing Sidles Stores in Kearney and then he and Uncle George started All Makes Auto - an NAPA auto parts store.

We learned a bunch from Ron Nelson chorally in Holdrege and then we met Francis Wilson. Fran Wilson is a saint and has given more from his heart and soul musically to all those who sing in Kearney. We had excellent teachers in Beatrice Holdrege and now Kearney. They taught us Math and Science. Debate was one of my fav's, as well as Drama and my English teacher in high school, Mr. Jim Anderson was really inspiring. He introduced me to Ray Bradburys novels and when I met Mr. Bradbury years later in Denver, I told him how grateful I was& for Mr. Anderson. He understood completely, and was a real dreamer too.

I was given so many great opportunities here. To think that I was 15 and got to go with the Kearney State Choraleers and Bill Nelson on a tour of Nebraska, with my older brother Chuck on bass guitar and me on 12-string guitar, playing Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein in 12/7 time - well that was another Dream Come True. I met Bill Howland on that trip and along with Chuck and Dick Jensen (later Craig Link) the following summer we started a band called Fresh Air. We later changed the name to Timberline. Our goal was to play Holiday Inn's, in these beautiful show rooms between Chicago and Denver and when gas was .35 cents a gallon, all the salesmen on the road would go where the music was the best. Bob Staufferson ran the Club Continental right here in the Holiday Inn. We were all exposed to the most incredible bands. Bob let me come and listen each week. I could come for the first 2 sets once a week. No beer. That came later. I was a part of Campus Lutherans Folk Service with Chuck and Paster Roger Sasse. I learned even more folk music and John Denver songs. High School was great and I got to be in plays like the Fantastiks and South Pacific. Plus I placed 2nd in the state in tennis Class B doubles with Greg Kirby. Some dreams fall just short of what you hope for.

Kearney State College gave us so much too:

  • The Fifth Dimension
  • The Carpenters (I got to play volleyball with Karen the 1st timeshe was still playing the drums then)
  • Denny Yost and Classics Four
  • I carried Lily Tomlins bags in from her rental car
  • I opened for Rich Little - Dennis Miller - the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Dr Hook - Michael Johnson
  • I ran a super trooper for Johnny Cash show- scary
  • and I got my picture taken by my high school buddy Brian Schrack, with John Denver playing my new Martin guitar


John Denver
There is a genius electrical engineer from Holdrege, Stan Miller. Stan from Stanal Sound let me go out and be John Denvers monitor mixer and gofer. I met John Denver at the Red Rocks amphitheater in 1972. I was 16 and on that Saturday morning at 8:00 I was pulling mic stands when a fellow tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I needed help. I said no these are John Denvers mic stands and this is my job. I turned around to find John Denver laughing his head off. He treated me like a little brother and he was my hero. I loved the positive message and I loved the 12-string and if I scrunched my voice up a little nasally, I could sound just like him. And I still do. He played Rocky Mountain High for the first time that night and it was his first time at Red Rocks. I learned the song that day and saw him again in Omaha three months later. (I got asked to sing Rocky Mountain High at the State Capitol when the State of Colorado made it their co-official State song)

Timberline
So the band takes off. We play colleges around the country as well as Holiday Inn's and even though I love high school, I want to be out. The guys Im playing with are in college and we are making a lot of money for our age. I was living in Grenoble apartments my senior year and I got to graduate a semester early to go on the road with my band Timberline. I never could have done anything at all without my older brother Chuck. I wrote the songs and I sang the songs and I found the ways to get us into studios and booking agencies and I did this all with a crazy drive my folks sorta instilled in us.

Work Ethic
Our dad, Virg, owned the local Napa store and would get up in the middle of the night to put a coat on over pajamas and get a fuel pump for a 1971 Oldsmobile so a family could make it down the interstate to a new life or whatever. Thats just crazy, no one would do that today or even back then. He might make a profit of $3.00 but Virgil Salestrom taught us three boys by example. He was our Scout Master and took us to the 1967 World Jamboree as a family and me at the National Jamboree in 1969. All three of us made Eagle Scout. His motto might have been summed up in what I eventually will call my motto The meek shall inherit the earth, if thats alright with you. He used to tell us to work hard, play fair, and dont make a fuss even when you know youre right. Our mom, Jan, was just the opposite. She used to tell us stand up straight&. stand in the front& make sure everyone knows your name& dont be afraid& dont back down&. My mom Jan was crazier than my dad Virgil. And Im pretty sure I'm more like my dear mother than my dear father.

So Timberline gets signed to CBS EPIC Records around the same time as Michael Jackson, Eddie Money and Cheap Trick. So Timberline goes to Hollywood! We make the big record "The Great Timber Rush" and CBS sells 50,000 copies in 1977. That isnt enough at the time to keep us on the roster, but it was to open for Dolly Parton and having her dress early in the wings to watch us (just checking to see if you are listening) made for a huge thing to happen. I auditioned for her band here in Kearney and went on the road. First tour was Hawaii New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. It was 1979 - she paid $1,000 a week and all expenses. We got back and I got to sing for President Jimmy Carter at Fords Theater with Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, etc. on an NBC Television Special. We did the Tonight Show three times with JOHNNY CARSON. I got to do the Academy Awards Show with Henry Mancini, and I sat next to Dion Warwick on a Sunday morning run-through as Pavoratti was singing. We got in trouble because our seat was the lighting set&and made of plastic and our bottoms cracked&. it (just checking again).

I got to play all over the world with Dolly. We did Harrahs nightclub in Lake Tahoe on three NYE and the Tacoma Dome twice with Kenny Rogers on NYE. I aways have these strange memories of NYE including the Elks Club in Cozad and Holiday Inn's and the Backlot. I went to South Africa and played Sun City during the apartheid times in 1983. I met and ran into Jack Nicklaus, Steve Ballesteros, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino. Dolly mooned us on a safari and I painted a water color of it called Full Moon Over Bophutatswana - Its hangs in her home in Nashville.

We traveled Australia three times and two years ago I went back there for a month as part of an 8 month world tour which included Denmark, Sweden, Scotland, Wales, England, The Hollywood Bowl, the Tonight Show again with Jay Leno, and Ellen DeGenrus. She is out there tonight on the road getting ready for another large tour in Australia. She wants me to keep doing my own thing and to stay focused on my dreams. She might have something for me to do with her down the road. We are the best of friends. Dolly Parton has given me more opportunities, and one of my best friends is her right hand man Richard Dennison. She is beautiful, she is clever,witty, funny and she is probably the best songwriter I will ever have met, let alone sung with.

Pam
Its 1983 - I was living in Breckenridge, playing in restaurants, skiing during the day and making extra money, even though Dolly has us on a retainer. The light catches this incredible blonde hair and when she turns for me to see her face&. I crumble. I know right then and there that this is the prettiest face I have ever seen. I fall into a deep hole of insecurity because Im sitting in the middle of the room singing my songs. I cannot believe it. I dont have the courage to say hello but a dear friend has brought her to the show and introduces me. Theres no way&& this lady is slightly older (I always loved that about Dolly too) but why oh why oh why couldnt I have gone to University and become a Doctor or a Lawyer or just a Billionaire? She is so far out of my League, no way, not a chance! But I have to try and after dating for a year, Pamela Jean Dailer married me. This is by far the biggest thing in my life. Ill bring the checks to you, if youll pay the bills it was an offer of trust and the smartest thing I ever did. She is kind, a wonderful mother, the most supportive friend, and the best business partner anyone could ever ask for&. and shes beautiful too. (also I mean)!

Children Casey and James
We had daughter Casey in Vail in 1985 and then son James in Vail 1988. They followed me everywhere. To the White House twice to sing Christmas carols. In the studio. Scotland, a few times, including going to school there for a month. Alaska, a few times. England, a few times. Later down the road we all went to Italy, Greece, Spain and Monte Carlo. Casey and James both graduated from CU Boulder and live in Big Sky, Montana.

Casey is lovely. Shes my daughter so I can say this&. she is truly lovely. Casey is in the sales department for a fairy tale resort called the Yellowstone Club. She has the personality and people skills that you can only dream of. She knows how to instantly connect with people from all walks of life and is not intimidated by anyone for any reason. She is someone people want to be best friends with, and with sales in the multi multi multi millions, her bosses are utilizing these skills for the greater good. And her dreams are coming true.

They both graduated from CU Boulder which really bummed my Dad out - "Paul Harvey said CU is the biggest party school in the country and my grand kids are going there - thanks a lot Jim."

James is a serious musician and has a degree in business. James and I are almost like brothers in the sense that his skills have risen to a level where I can show him the three chords he already knows on the guitar and maybe two more that he doesnt. I love being with him. He can sing like me and as we grow older, we are going to play together, more and more around the world&. probably with Chuck and Tom and nephew Josh too. James is a good looking lad and has the world by the tail. And his dreams are coming true.

Brothers and Mom and Dad
Tommy Salestrom has a new wife, Angela, and she too is from Kearney. Tom lost his first wife Jo to cancer and he has been a role model for me with raising his son's Ben and Jack and doing an incredible job. Chuck and Kristi live in North Platte and work for Mid Plains Community College. Their daughter Jenny is with the United Way and Josh, Shelby and Claire are in Florida where Josh is going to school and playing the drums. Chuck still plays all the time too. Craig Link, from Timberline is here and he still plays the drums.

Our Mom Jan is headed back from Lincoln this week and happily living at St Johns Nursing Home. We remember our Dad Virg everyday - hes been gone five years now. They had season tickets from 1948 on.

People I have played for - Interesting Folks:

5 US Presidents

  • George Bush 41 wrote a letter to my Dad after I played the Daddy Song for him, Jack Kemp did also
  • George Bush 43
  • Bill Clinton - at the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial in 1993 and also for General Collin Powell
  • Jimmy Carter- at Ford's Theater
  • Gerald Ford- with Bob Hope and Dinah Shore and then again for his 50th wedding anniversary

Musicians

  • Dave Brubeck- 80th birthday at the Pacific Union Club (sing the Songwriters Prayer)
  • Skitch Henderson - four hours telling stories about Judy Garland and the Tonight Show
  • Jimmy Buffet- showed me his guitar collection
  • John Denver- I sang on his album "Different Directions" and even though it didnt happen he was going to record a song I wrote called The Journey. I am the Musical Director in a tribute show his estate owns&
  • Vince Gil
  • I recently played on Jim Horns album
  • Peter Paul and Mary
  • A gold album for Mary MacGreggors recording of It's Too Soon To Let Our Love End
  • Steve Miller (very special friendship) chose a Les Paul from his collection for James' graduation present

Huge Networks

I have learned the art of making friends with people I would have never ever met if not for the Bohemian Club - Arts Club. This arts club for men only began in 1872 in San Francisco and with artists writers musicians and business people, they created a support group like no other. Ive met the most amazing people there. And even though it normally takes 26 years to get in, I got in in 6 years and have been a member for almost 20. Ive learned that everyone has the most amazing story& you never know who you are sitting next to and everyone has a dream.

Famous people

  • Malcom McDowell
  • Michael York
  • Patrick Wayne
  • Clint Eastwood and I joined at the same time
all through the Men's Club
  • Bruce Cohn (Doobie Brothers)
  • Michael Mondavi - his father Bob was a friend
  • Dr Robert Ballard - Titanic fame - spent time on his ship the Nautilus around Sicily Italy - wrote the a song The Captain Nemo Blues for him
  • Sandra Day OConnor, gotten to go golfing with her, and sing at the Supreme Court - singing her song that I wrote for the clerks
  • Alan Simpson - Potato King
  • The Bechtel family - created a family history project of 14 songs and 5000 photos
  • The Koch Family - Thanksgiving - The Western Town
  • Ken Burns
  • Tom Brokaw
  • Robert Trent Jones II
  • Pete Coors
  • Phil Anschutz - He's the new owner of the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs where I Emcee their Christmas shows

Whats next? Act II

Part of my unfulfilled dream is to write the hit song - get the publishing out there - maybe help a bit on the Arch Project here in Kearney and promoting tourism in Nebraska, try to play more for kids. I get to play for a few hundred tomorrow.

Lessons Learned and words to keep your dream alive

  • I want to tell them that they should follow the main stream but be not afraid to explore the tributaries, they might find their dreams shine brighter where less is more.
  • Get an education. Practice all your life.
  • Be Prepared - its the only way to survive and it bites you bad when you are not&. prepared.

I set my sights on the highest goals in life without thinking of failing and I honestly can say that they didnt all come true&.but I really gave it a shot and got to see the top from the side (as in sideman) and to be in this room tonight with all of you, getting to tell you my story, as if it I was really important, makes me feel humbled and very grateful like a dream come true. Most of us in this room have been raised in Central America with a solid foundation built on our faith& our education, our love of country, our pride in the community and our sense of "passing it along  after all There is No Place Like Nebraska.

Keep The Dreams Alive and Thank you!




February 18, 2014
 

On behalf of the entire Salestrom family, I want to thank you. I can say that we knew Mom and Dad had lots of friends but we are astounded at the number of phone calls, cards and notes, e-mails and Facebook messages we have received. No words can express how grateful we are for your feelings of love and support. Mom and Dad and all the Salestrom's and Copple's who have gone on before them are looking down at all of us and smiling.

With Mom's passing, Jan and Virgil's legacy is now transferred to us,the three boys as Mom would always refer to us.

We had Mom until this past December when her health began to fail. To that point, Jan remembered everyone and could tell stories about each of us better than we remembered them. She loved all of you. Well always cherish her for that.

Again, for allowing our family into your lives, we are grateful for all of you and Tack så mycket (thanks very much) Tusen tack (a thousand thanks)thank you for helping us remember Mom.

My friend General Mike Myers sent this to a friend of mine (Dillon OBrien) who recently lost his Mom - "To lose our Mom is like a ship that disappears over the horizon and we say there she goes, while there are others over that horizon who are saying here she comes."

Jan is our Mom for all time and she will be with us forever in our hearts.

Thank-you for being here - All Our Love...
Chuck Jim and Tom




January 25, 2014
 

Kearney native eager to tell stories with his guitar in hometown
By RICK BROWN Hub Staff Writer | Posted: Saturday, January 25, 2014 4:00 am

KEARNEY  Jim Salestrom sandwiched a concert in his hometown between shows in San Francisco, Florida, Idaho, Colorado, Montana and even a tour of Europe.

"We're traveling and playing a whole bunch," the former Kearney resident said in a phone interview from his winter home in Florida. "I'm really grateful to have these pauses in between shows where we can swim and try to play golf and be in the sun."

The musician said he hit 100,000 airline miles flying on United Airlines last year. He said he's come close before, but this is the first time he's flown that much.

"I'm not sure it's something to be totally proud of, to think that I've spent three months of the year on an airplane," he said. "But it's good to be busy."

Salestrom returns to Kearney to give a talk and a performance at the 95th Kearney Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Kearney Ramada Inn at 301 Second Ave. Tickets are $45. Visit www.kearneycoc.com for more details.

He will also perform in concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Merryman Performing Arts Center. Tickets for that event are $12. The concert will feature the songwriter and performer on solo acoustic guitar. He plans to play a number of songs he's written about Nebraska and Colorado.

"I've put bands together before and had keyboard players that were just wonderful musicians," Salestrom said. "But what I'm really looking forward to is the chance to tell the stories at my own pace with just the guitar. I'm really looking forward to doing it very simply."

Salestrom said stripping away the excess from the songs helps him connect with the music.

"A lot of my friends and family say they like the music best that way," he said, referring to his solo performances. "They're not wild about my album recordings because when you start adding musicians and layering them up, you overproduce the sound. When you take away all the other stuff and you just have the melody and the vocal, it's a pure sound."

After performing with the likes of John Denver, Tom Rush, Amy Grant and Linda Ronstadt, Salestrom said getting a chance play solo means something very special. He'd also like to make his next album a collection of solo performances.

"I might find a really great church and some good microphones and get where the acoustics are good," he said. "The acoustics are good at the Merryman, and I'm really looking forward to playing there on Tuesday."

Returning to his hometown lets Salestrom catch up with some old friends and make some new ones, too.

One fan asked if he would play a children's favorite, "The Zoo Song."

"I learned that song on July 4th, 1976," Salestrom said. "I'll always remember that date, not because it was the Bicentennial, but because I was in Blacksburg, Va., at VMI (Virginia Military Institute), and we were playing with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary and he taught me that song."

At the chamber dinner, Salestrom said he plans to talk about his travels, using the theme of "Keeping the Dream Alive."

"I want to tell them how grateful I am of my education, and how great it was growing up in Nebraska," he said. "I had a great education in music from some great music teachers."

As a teenager growing up in Kearney, Salestrom said garage bands were common.

"The music stores were flourishing. It's really sad we don't have more of that now. It's because there aren't places to perform. It's a different atmosphere for music these days."

Salestrom recalled playing at Holiday Inn, the Backlot, Fireside Inn and at Kearney State College.

"We had a lot of avenues and a lot of places to play," he said.

One of Salestrom's regrets with his busy schedule is that he won't be able to tour with Dolly Parton as he has in the past.

"I talked with her last July and had to take a pass on this tour," he said. "I hope there's something with her in the future down the road. She's the nicest person on the planet and somebody I love very, very much. She's been very good to me over the years."




 
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