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As I See It

September 1997

Dear Friends...As I see it,

I've had a very interesting year so far with the purchase of two vehicles (my old, faithful trusty Blue Jeep died with 215,000 miles). Now there's a fire engine red one next to a new big green van that hauls kids…and we all keep rolling along. The '79 little black bug convertible still has a home in the garage. I wonder sometimes how Kris O'Connor could have possibly known then, how his selling that sweet little car to us, before we married 14 years ago, still means so much to us. Casey has 4 years to go before I buy a tank for her...although she claims it as her own with 44,000 miles, Kris.

It's been a bit of a haul with two new albums released by Texas-based Moulin D'Or Recordings, All The Colors for children and The Messenger for the big kids. It has been an interesting experience being involved with a label again and it's brought back the memories of impatience on my part. But they are loving, sweet people and, if I can stay out of their way, they'll do just fine for all of us.

I played once again in Breckenridge for the duration of the ski season and made a few trips out to San Francisco to be with new friends in a special organization focused on the arts. I spent a great deal of time planning and executing a trip for Pam, myself, and 8 other musicians and wives to London, then Singapore, then Bali, then retracing our steps to all of those cities. It was quite an experience and one that I'm happy to be involved with for the next two years. A different band will travel through the Caribbean this coming spring and I will once again be tour organizer... a job with some rather unusual complications at times. But longtime friend Dugg Duggan and his wonderful wife Gina made the trip so enjoyable for Pam and me. They are truly giving people and I look forward to kids grown and bags packed with them...not too soon, though!

After the trip to the Far East, Pam and I took the children to Holland for a week in April. It was a wonderful time for all of us to see the sights and be completely alone as a family...no phones...no hassles. I played a couple of schools and did some radio as a pre-game show for the future. We all loved the people and I would really love to spend a longer time there. These Northern European locales give me a funny feeling that my Scandinavian heritage has seen me there before. Duh.

My wife and kids have made the adjustment to moving from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet as a year has passed. We still have our home in Breck and after 20 years of trying to grow up living there, my heart will always be there. But everyone, including me, enjoyed the Rockies' games (I sang the Canadian National anthem at one cause I'm one of the few people who knows the words) and the large silver maple trees in the front and back yards are great for little boys and girls to climb in. If you visit, please remember to sign trampoline and tree wavers!!

In the month of May I started the process once again of recording a new album. We lost our baby sitter to a tragic accident and Western Winds was born out of grief and pain. The album has a happier feel to it than its origins and, with help from Mary MacGreggor, Jennifer Warnes, Rachel and Richard Dennison, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Richie Furay, Don Garberg, Steve Ivey, Chris Engleman, Mary Huckins, Mark Elting, and engineers Mark Derryberry, Richie Owens, Brad Hartman, Dugg Duggan and Jim Mason...I can't believe that I didn't forget someone...I hope to have it pressed in a limited special release quantity by the middle part of Oct. Moulin D'Or wants to release it in the spring. And my manager/friend, David Beisell continues to work his phone for the good of our families and me.

It was a labor...but it always seems that way when it's my money, songs, voice. It's a frightening experience but one that I'm always grateful for...when it's over. Now...with someone else's budget, I've always had a blast! It's not that bad really...I'm proud of the work and very happy to be associated with such decent people.

There were trips to perform in Atlanta, Nebraska, Deadwood S.D., St. Louis (at the Country Club) to see my friend Dave and his sweet wife Nancy, Nashville to record and spend an evening with Tom Rutledge, and Rachel and Richard Dennison. I grew up with these folks and haven't laughed so hard for so long in such a long time. We all have shared some amazing experiences hitched to Dolly Parton's star and it's always like picking up where you left off in terms of conversation. I love those people so much and my friend Dave got to experience that. Of course, more trips to California to perform with so many talented people. Art Linkletter is my hero as well as Glen Ashe, Ed Wettland, Adrian MacNamara, George Alexander, Vic Abnee, Tom, Charlie, Ben, Richard, Bob, all the others and my good, good friend Henry Kaiser. And Nissan Boury who makes me laugh out loud. Henry has opened his life and his friends to me and I will always be grateful to him. We need to write another song, Henry.

On Sept 13th, I won my second Emmy Award for music I wrote for KCNC News 4 in Denver. It's cool to be recognized and the statue looks good as a hood ornament, as my friends were quick to point out. I just played a show with my brothers in the Jimbo zone over in Aspen. Two very good friends of mine, Marcia and Barbara made this web site possible and were there. It was nice to have breakfast and read the paper with them in Basalt. The show was OK... we always make our own fun when the sun goes down. I stayed and played at the Aspen Jimbo's house and I'm sure he was glad when I finally crashed and burned. He is a gracious host and his music is marvelous. It never ceases to amaze me that the power of music can sustain and propel truly talented people like my friend Jimmy to continue to create good music. What a country! When the leaves are changing in the mountains of Colorado and the full moon rises up golden after a rain shower on the western slope, the beer tastes so good! Thanks Ibby.

I'm now planning my fall and winter with a trip to Germany in October for 7 days and three big ski shindigs with Vail Resorts and another fun loving Jimbo (Felton) and Mrs. Alexander-Gitchell, who's a joy to swing the clubs with, then back to Nebraska to be a special part of a 20 year dream for a beautiful art museum --- The Museum of Nebraska Art --- a black tie event which is very special (and expensive) in Kearney, my hometown. Then it's off to Scotland where I perform for 4 days at schools including the Royal Scottish School for the Blind and George Herriot School where 007 was educated after being evicted from Eaton (trivia). Pam flies over a bit later and we'll play in Ireland with Colorado's most traveled drummer, Roger Markel, then back to Scotland with ski shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh. It's very cool working in the UK and now for Vail Resorts and I look forward to playing with two other Colorado musicians, Chris Engleman and Taylor Mesple from Wind Machine, in London for 10 days at the London Daily Mail Ski Show.

I hope to see Big Tim Jackson who is in charge of the Queen's Footmen and have dinner again at Buckingham Palace. He's a great chef and knows his way around London.

I return to Colorado and head for San Francisco and a show with friends, then to Nebraska to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary in Kearney. It's hard to believe that Jan and Virg have been together so long.

From Thanksgiving on, I'm playing at the Breckenridge Cattle Company (970-453-2000) in the evenings, Thursday through Saturday and at my old favorite, The Breckenridge Hilton (970-453-4500) on those Thursday - Friday apre afternoons. Please call for tee times.

I plan to ski my tail off this winter and I sincerely hope to see you, down the trail. Life as a musician has its extreme moments of loneliness and frustration as I guess everyone's life has. But I still smile at the thought of singing and playing music and I am blessed with the love of my family and firm in my faith.

As I see it,

It's a mountain stream movie that glows through my life and, although I sometimes miss the subtitles and am numbed by slamming into the obvious obstacles, I still believe in the music of life and love trying to bring it to you, and I still believe in the changes in myself and the seasons. And I still believe in you!

Thanks for letting me into your lives.

Jim

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