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As I See It

10/9/2012
 

"Oh Aspen what a fun place you are to visit when the leaves are turning... and hearing John Denver's music is like the perfect soundtrack for my memories". Jim

My Aspen Memories
1974
I remember the Holiday Inn Airport and waiting an extra hour as the Lost Gonzos played until Jerry Jeff could take the stage & only to accidentally fall full falling tree backwards into the drum set. The crowd went wild. I thought it was the largest support group for misbehaving I'd ever seen. I was 18.

I remember staying at the Owl Farm in the guest house and told not to venture out at night, for any reason, because the owner worked at night and there were WMD's. And Jack D.  and Peacocks.

I remember Deaf Camp Picnics and beautiful translators that had a hard time when the pirate sang his iconic song with the lyric "why don't we get drunk and .." some nut would buzz the valley about 100 feet off the deck in a bi-plane.

I remember Ed Bradley at a different concert with the same pirate (who's not really a pirate at all but an incredibly talented smart guy) What a great person Ed was. I remember Dave Logins-The Amazing Rhythm Aces-The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band-The Wild Jimbos-Jimmy Ibbotson-Bobby Mason-
More Dirt Band-Roger McGuinn-John McEuen
Foggy Mountain Memories

And of course I remember John Denver. 
Memories of a fan and a friend.
June 21st 1972 
I was there at the Red Rocks 8:00 on the morning of June 21st 1972 when John tapped me on the shoulder to help assemble mic stands. I didn't turn around. I was going to be so adult and meeting my musical hero that day had me in power mode- I said "thanks but these are John Denver's mic stands, and I've got this down" I turned around to see John laughing his head off. I did the monitors that day (which back then was setting up A7 cabinets built by Stanal Sound and turning them on). I was 16. I became his gofer! I met Jerry Weintraub - I had never seen a suit so perfectly cut nor a cigar so big. And then I spent the rest of the day following John around... I took his guitars out that night. I took the tennis balls so he could juggle and tell the Steve Martin jokes and the Moody Blues / Wimbledon stories. He sang Rocky Mountain High for the first time in public at the sound check that afternoon. It was his first Red Rocks show and it was off the charts cool- he was really happy and couldn't have been nicer to all. I saw him again, a few months later, in U of Nebraska / Omaha at the Milo Bail Student Union where he had been booked before his meteoric career took off (he was a man of his word). He remembered me with a huge hug and handshake.

Over the course of 25 years, I saw him probably 40 times in concert - I was lead singer in a band called Timberline, we always found a way to get near a show. Our friends Ernie and Steve ran the sound and we even loaned them some of our Stanal equipment at places like the Dayton Arena where John sold out 18,000 seaters - he did this all the time for years.

He would wait until it was perfect to add a vocal on my stage at odd times and places in Aspen like My Brothers Bar and I never knew he was going to sing Darcy Farrow with me until that face and voice were inches away. That used to scare the heck out of me. I should have known something was up when K.O. turned the lights down. Kris O'Connor is one of my best friends. He is one of John Denver's best friends, his record producer, road manager, and is very special because he could say "no" to John. A very small number of friends could try and do that. I recorded with him on his album Different Directions in Omaha. I spent a week with him and at the end of the week I asked if I could have my Shubb capos back. He groused  "I don't have your capos"  I said "yes you do and please give them back because I can't afford to replace four right now". He hurumphed and gave them begrudgingly back but with a slight smile. I think he was a klepto for small shiny objects but don't print that because it's not fair. He's not here to defend himself. I'd give anything if he were here to defend himself. I still cannot believe he is really gone.

Jim with John DenverI sang with JD at the Paradise, thanks to Ibby (a concert bar thats had a million different names) and John seemed consumed with much on his mind. As we all joked with Jeff Hannah and the Dirt Band, Dave Mason, and James Burton, the road stories would come out and people like Matty held court backstage. John wouldn't allow himself to be drawn in but on that day, he seemed to keep asking me what the punchline was or what eventually happened (in the story). He wanted to be a part of it but he was removed and it felt to me like he wasn't comfortable letting his barrier down. He let it down every time he performed instead. He was an incredible performer / communicator.  Most of us were in awe of what he had accomplished. And I liked him a bunch even when he was the boss. I think we all did.

I was swimming laps at Meyers Pool in Arvada the day I heard he had died. It was early on a Monday. I will never forget how sick I felt. I will never forget how sad I still am.

At the funeral service in Aurora, at the Presbyterian Church, Kris O'Connor (K.O.) directed my wife Pam and my kids, James and Casey, to sit with those who weren't family but were friends. It was surreal. It was terribly sad. I remember the Aspen ceremonies and Pete and Chris playing. I didn't know them at that time - they were incredible to have the strength to get through that service playing JD instrumentals. I remember the doves and the balloons and one old tired hanger-on fan who I went to hug and he was so out of it he wouldn't hug me back and it all seemed to go like that. Just awful.

I got to go to John's house where Uncle Abe held a beautiful service. It was out on John's octagonal deck and a red hawk or golden eagle rose up as we were telling stories and trying to get through the grief. I remember Jim Horn and how hard it was for him... I was invited to share more that evening by some of the closer folks but I had to leave to fly to Edinburgh Scotland that following day. A super close friend of John's told me stories of them sitting in the Queen's Garden below the 400 year old castle.

All of that leads to this.

I was asked to sing Rocky Mountain High at the Colorado State Capitol March 12th 2007.  Senators Bob Hagendorn and  Nancy Todd were the sponsors of the bill to make Rocky Mountain High the co-official state song of Colorado. In the last moments of debate, one Senator said "I still don't like it and believe the song is about drugs"  Another Senator quickly stood up, pointed to the projected Bill on the screen and said "of course it is about drugs, it says right there that this is a joint resolution". John's beloved Mother Erma Deutschendorf  and his brother Ron Deutschendorf  were there. It was emotional and joyous. My wife Pam was there as well as James and longtime friend Brian Schrack.

John DenverAbout a year later, Erma's friend Pam Peterson called and asked if I could arrange a way for the Senators who sponsored the bill to accept a gift of John's last photo to be given to the State of Colorado. I made the call. They said the State would be honored. I drove over to Erma's home and had a nice time discussing John and the portrait photo of him. She said it was so big, it really would be better to have it in a place where lots of folks could enjoy it. We met in the Press Room, Erma, Ron, my Family, and legislators to celebrate Rocky Mountain High again and his life as the state Poet Laureate.

I've had the joy of singing at these tributes for many years, I missed a couple for a health issue one year and last year as I was on a world tour with Dolly Parton in her band. (I don't get to say that very often please forgive)

I had the joy of performing with Bill Danoff, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Olivia Newton John, John Oates, Michael Murphy, Richie Furay, and many of the folks that made John's concerts so good. John was inducted into the Colorado Hall of Fame for Musicians - the first recipient.

I wasn't in his band but I sang with him on songs like Rocky Mountain High, Country Roads and Darcy Farrow a 1/2 dozen times. I sang backgrounds on 6 of the Different Directions album songs and played banjo on Foxfire Suite.

Jim with John Denver 1972I also showed him high string-tuning string gauges. He taught me drop D tuning when I was 16 - it changed my life - the photo of John playing my 1970 D-41 was taken as he showed me that at Kearney State College. We both had long hair.

Sounds kinda weird now, but I watched him play blackjack with Glen Campbell at Harrah's. Watched him and the Sharks play softball with Jay Leno (also Tahoe), attended the Celebrity Ski Race at Harrah's - watched him drive off in a yellow Ferrari Bill Harrah gave him to drive. Bumped into him a number of times at Carl's - listened to his advice as he told me to hold onto my dreams. Helped grille chicken with his special secret recipe on the 4th of July in Nashville. Took some very late phone calls when he was unhappy. (aren't you glad you asked?)

At Glenn D Hardin's home in Nashville on July 3rd, the living room cleared for a moment leaving just the two of us and John said he was going to record my song Journey (a song from my album Distant Eyes, all about a journey to Santa Fe New Mexico). He said he wanted to record it and how did I feel about it. I told him how incredible that would be and what it would mean to me - I may have jumped up and down a little. As far as I know, he did not do it. It doesn't matter but the fact that he said he was going to is worth something to me. I know he heard my albums because KO played them for him sometimes late at night in Starwood.

There are so many  JD tributes happening. God Bless them all.    
I think everyone should learn a John Denver song and teach it to someone young or old or in between.

I will continue to sing the same John Denver songs I've been singing since I learned my first one in 1969. (Jet Plane)
I believe in John's music and his positive energy in the world. It won't dim if we sing.
I admire the way he didn't let life's speed bumps keep him from getting up and trying again.

Thank-you for reading this. I will remember this moment in time.
Thank-you for coming near and far to share a good man's life... his music and to experience Aspen. 
John Denver's Home.
Lots of Love,
Jim 




08/30/2012
 
Jim Salestrom plays Father Dyer benefit in Breckenridge Saturday
Daily News staff report

On Saturday, the Emmy Award-winning songwriter and local favorite Jim Salestrom will perform a concert that recalls local history.

For history buffs, spending a day in Breck — home to more than 200 structures in the Breckenridge Historic District, which is listed on the National Registry — can be a "gold mine" of a day. Among the historic buildings is Father Dyer United Methodist Church. The church itself is named after its founder, an itinerant minister or circuit rider, named John Lewis Dyer.

Dyer came to Colorado at age 49 and served the community of miners that populated places like Buckskin Joe, Fairplay, Leadville, Alma and Breckenridge. From 1863 to 1877, Dyer made the trek between these camps on foot, regardless of the weather. In winter, he used snowshoes and an early version of cross-country skis, earning the nickname, "Snowshoe Itinerant."

Providing mail service, friendship and support to the miners, John Dyer also came to be called "Father" by the young men with whom he worked. In 1880, Dyer started to build the church in Breckenridge that is still in use today. Dyer, his love of the mountains and his service to the early mining population have been memorialized in a stained glass window in the Colorado Capital rotunda. Dyer was one of 16 pioneers to be honored this way.

Just a few pastors have served at Father Dyer United Methodist Church, including the much-loved Mark Fiester in the 1960s. Musician Jim Salestrom, who grew up in Summit County, has many fond memories of Fiester, his wife and the church, which he now shares through music and stories.

In, "Look For Me in Heaven," he tells about the time Father Dyer was caught in blizzard in the mountains and nearly froze to death. In "Queen Anne's Lace," he describes the Fiesters' lifelong love of nature, flowers and each other. "Grateful" speaks to the beauty of the area, as does "Blue River Dreaming."

Salestrom brings these songs and his stories to Breckenridge at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in a special concert at Father Dyer United Methodist Church, 310 Wellington. Tickets are available at the door for a suggested donation of $20. Proceeds support the community dinner and food pantry at the church.


08/31/2012
 
Jim Salestrom plays Father Dyer benefit Saturday
Music recalls more than 100 years of local history
Daily News staff report

Jim with Dolly PartonOn Saturday, Emmy award-winning songwriter and local favorite Jim Salestrom will perform a concert that recalls local history. The show is a benefit for Father Dyer United Methodist Church in Breckenridge.

Salestrom, who tours with Dolly Parton among other musical greats, grew up in Summit County. He has fond memories of Mark Fiester, the pastor who served Father Dyer church in the 1960s, which he now shares through music and stories. His repertoire also includes selections about church founder Father Dyer himself.

John Lewis Dyer was an itinerant minister or circuit rider. He came to Colorado at age 49 and served the community of miners in Buckskin Joe, Fairplay, Leadville, Alma and Breckenridge. From 1863 to 1877, Dyer made the trek between these camps on foot, regardless of the weather. In winter, he used snowshoes and an early version of cross-country skis, earning the nickname, "Snowshoe Itinerant."

Providing mail service, friendship and support to the miners, John Dyer also came to be called "Father" by the young men with whom he worked. In 1880, he started to build the church in Breckenridge that is still in use today. Dyer, his love of the mountains and his service to the early mining population have been memorialized in a stained glass window in the Colorado Capital Rotunda. Dyer was one of 16 pioneers to be honored this way.

In, "Look For Me in Heaven," Salestrom tells about the time Father Dyer was caught in blizzard in the mountains and nearly froze to death. In "Queen Anne's Lace," he describes the Fiesters' lifelong love of nature, flowers and each other. "Grateful" speaks to the beauty of the area, as does "Blue River Dreaming."

Jim brings these songs and his stories to Breckenridge at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in a special concert at Father Dyer United Methodist Church. Tickets are available at the door for a suggested donation of $20. Proceeds support the community dinner and food pantry at the church.


01/25/2012
 
The Sounding Board™ Newsletter Vol 32
available in both print and online editions,
is written and published by C. F. Martin & Co.

Sounding Board Artist Profiles




05/3/2012
 
Salestrom's Minden show following tour with Dolly Parton just for Mom
By Rick Brown
Kearney Hub

NautilusDon't tell Jim's mom.

Jim Salestrom has a surprise: He's returning to central Nebraska for a special concert for his mother at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Minden Opera House and he's inviting the community.

Salestrom and his brother Chuck started making music in Kearney 40 years ago as the band Fresh Air in 1971. After changing the name to Timberline, the group signed with CBS Epic Records and toured nationally.

Now living in Colorado, Salestrom continues his musical career with albums, performances and song writing. He recently wrapped up a tour with Dolly Parton. His latest recording project, Nautilus, honors the work of oceanographer Robert Ballard.

I met Dr. Robert Ballard about six years ago in California, Salestrom said. A year and a half ago he asked me if I would write a song like 'Calypso' that John Denver wrote for Jacques Cousteau's research vessel.

Ballard and Salestrom shared a friendship with Denver. Robert said when he hears 'Calypso,' it tugs at his heartstrings, Salestrom said. He asked if I could write something for his ship. I told him I would do it in a heartbeat.

The project started with a song called Nautilus.

I started reading more and more about Dr. Ballard’s science, what he does with his ‘Corps of Discovery’ explorers, Salestrom said. He likes to compare that to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. So I ended up writing quite a few songs about the project.

Salestrom used some of his older melodies, reworking them with different lyrics to fit the theme. The album also contains A Whale of a Tale, a song from the 1954 film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. We updated the song a little, Salestrom said. We used a recording of a didgeridoo recorded in Sydney Harbor. We made it kind of a rap song. That’s one of my favorites.

Salestrom has performed with John Denver, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Pure Prairie League, Tom Rush, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Ozark Mountain Daredevils. His tour with Parton took Salestrom all over the world. It was an amazing year. We did the ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ in May and then we rehearsed for six weeks for this world tour,” Salestrom said. “I have not been with her group for 20 years. I had played with Dolly from 1979 to about 1991. I got to go back after 20 years, with one of my best friends, Richard Dennison, who still plays in the band.

Salestrom described the tour as a dream come true.

She’s just as wonderful a person as you’d hope her to be, off the stage as well as on, he said of Parton. To get to sing cheek-to-cheek with her every night for about 50 dates and to travel around the world with her with just a dream come true.

After performing for Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, Salestrom and Parton played at the Hollywood Bowl. I’ve never been on that stage before, he said. I’ve seen pictures of the Hollywood Bowl, but to be where Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and all of the War Bonds shows in the Second World War performed and where the Beatles played, Little Richard and Elvis Presley — it was an amazing experience.

Another highlight of the tour came when Parton’s show played the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. That was like performing with Elvis, Salestrom said.

His concert on Friday for his mother at Minden Opera House might not equal the bright lights and fame of other legendry venues, but Salestrom doesn’t mind. After all, it’s for his mom and his hometown community.

Who: Jim Salestrom performs with his brother, Chuck, in concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Minden Opera House, 322 E. Fifth St., Minden. Contact: 308-832-0588; www.mindenoperahouse.com.


03/21/2012
 
Kearney native has new CD, link to research ship
McCook Daily Gazette

Jim with Dolly PartonFolk and country musician Jim Salestrom, who spent last year touring with Dolly Parton, has a new CD out celebrating the EV Nautilus, Dr. Robert Ballard's research exploration vessel, which has been featured in many National Geographic specials.

Salestrom picks up where his hero, John Denver, left off -- Denver's tribute to Jaques Costeau's research vessel, the Calypso, is included on the CD -- with a song about the EV Nautilus.

The Nautilus and her "Corps of Discovery Explorers" travel the world and map the oceans; an effort that inspired many of the 11 songs on the disc, as well a remake of "A Whale of a Tale" from the movie "20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea."

The album was recorded at the legendary Sound Kitchen Studios in Nashville, with Dolly Parton's band and Dolly's producer, Kent Wells.

As a teenager, Jim Salestrom and his older brother, Chuck, helped form the band "Timberline," which enjoyed some success and produced several albums. Jim is well known in the McCook area, having performed here several times with the urging of his brother, who is director of marketing and public relations for the Mid Plains Community College. "We are really happy with the tracks and sounds from Nashville. And to take a ride on Dr. Ballard's ship Nautilus last October in between tours with Dolly made 2011 an exciting year!" The CD is for all ages, and the songs are inspired by the scientist's passion to learn more -- the quest for knowledge about engineering, science and oceanographic studies.

"This is the culmination of a lifetime of songwriting and singing and I think it captures the joy of sharing this great adventure with all of you," Salestrom said.


01/27/2012
 
Salestrom returns to Breckenridge after touring with Dolly Parton
By Kimberly Nicoletti
summit daily news

NautilusJim Salestrom has been enjoying the time of his life lately, and tonight, he's sharing his love of music through an intimate evening of song, food and wine.

Salestrom just ended an international tour as part of Dolly Parton's band, which took him to a six-week rehearsal in Nashville last spring, followed by stints on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, a month-long tour throughout Europe, and Parton's Better Day World Tour winding down in December in Australia, where Salestrom also opened for one of her concerts.

But that was hardly the end of Salestrom's streak (and it wasn't the beginning, either - he had toured with her band, playing guitar, banjo and singing backup from 1979 to 1991, until she took a long hiatus and told him to develop his own music; he did, playing with John Denver's band, as well as about five other outfits and recording his own albums).

Salestrom just finished mixing and recording his album, "Nautilus," with Parton's band. The idea for the recording came after meeting Bob Ballard, who discovered the sunken Titanic and Bismark and still takes his research ship, EV Nautilus, worldwide in search of historical wrecks. Through National Geographic's website, www.nautiluslive.org, viewers can watch Ballard and his crew stream live video to the University of Rhode Island, which then passes it on to scientists internationally to determine what they've found.

Salestrom met Ballard because both were friends of John Denver. Ballard invited Salestrom and his wife, Pam, aboard his ship in October in Sicily, Italy, and since then, Salestrom has written an album full of songs to sell through Ballard's Mystic Aquarium Museum (and online). The album is geared toward kids, particularly in hopes of interesting them in becoming engineers in the field of science because the nation may be facing a shortage, Salestrom said. A portion of proceeds also will benefit Ballard's nonprofit, part of which aims to help protect the ocean through education, research and exploration.

Tonight, Salestrom will perform songs from "Nautilus," as well as "a lot of favorite songs about Summit County," he said. He'll also sing tunes from and chat about his tour with Parton.

His good friend, Ken Miller, joins him. A Juilliard graduate, Miller is the entertainment director of the Broadmoor Hotel and was the principal arranger with the U.S. Air Force Academy Band for 20 years.

Though Salestrom has been on a world-wind tour and is considering being the music director for tours through China and Russia this year for the John Denver Band in remembrance of the 15th anniversary of Denver's death, right now, Salestrom's happy to be in a place he said his heart has always been: Breckenridge.


 
The "As I See It" Archive:

January 2008
April 2006
Fall 2005
December 2003
Fall 2002
May 2000
July 1999
September 1998
November 1997
September 1997
April 1997