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As I See It

May 2, 2000

Dear Friends,

Late summer brought the John Denver Tribute concerts in Breckenridge, Aspen and Arvada. They were made special with Jim Horn's lovely playing and Pete Huttlinger's guitar. They both helped me out on some recordings - A Colorado Christmas and Distant Eyes now released with their amazing talents on board. The large  JD Tribute concerts in D.C., Aspen and U.C.L.A were lots of fun - especially playing golf with K.O. - he is really good and what a friend!!!!

Late October took Pam and me away to Birmingham and London for ski shows and good times with friends Frank Strang, Bill O'Connell, Jim and Duncan and new friends at Crystal Tours. They have a swinging saloon at the London Daily Mail Ski Show and I had a ball. We also saw Jimmy Webb - two shows at Pizza on the Plaza near Hyde Park. It was great to see him deliver his hit songs and he was nice about Jim Horn - he said to be sure and say hello.   

Wow! Nothing happened in a negative way during the holidays. My little brother Tommy celebrated his 40th birthday on Dec. 30th with all of us in Keystone at a great restaurant called Paisanos in River Run. New Year's Eve was a busy day setting up a 14 piece stage band,  Dr. Jim Payne and the Professors of Swing, and my band for a family concert, then a rock and roll blowout. I never dreamed everyone would come back to the ballroom after the amazing fireworks display at midnight, but they did and rocked out til 1:00. It was a great evening for my family with my Mom and Dad, brother Tom and his wife Jo, with their kids Ben and Jack, nephew Josh on drums, lovely Pam, our son James on piano (Jet Plane), daughter Casey and  I all had the chance to be together to say goodbye to the last 100 years and wonder about the next. ( I will always remember spending the 4th of July in Nashville at a beautiful rented home where John Denver was cooking his famous chicken on a grill and his friends all talking about the future and these two ladies that commented that “if you lived to see the year 2000, you’d live to be 100”. Probably because of all the medical breakthroughs-such amazing times to be alive...).

The new year found me in Pebble Beach having wonderful experiences with friends and writing a new wildlife song with Peter for the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Plans were discussed for the benefit concert in March to raise awareness and money for the museum.

At the end of January, Pam and I traveled to Ireland for me to perform once again at the Holiday World Travel Show in Dublin at the RDS. 50,000 people go through the show and it’s so much fun to see Jackie and Alan Dunphy’s family. We had an amazing evening at their home and heard fascinating stories about the maintenance and upkeep of Ireland’s lighthouses, as told to us by Jackie’s broth-in-law Nick. Oh do I want to go back there to experience writing about that - an overnight is in the plans next time. 

In February, I took a few of the guys down to Atlanta to play for Bell South. The following week, Pam and I, plus John Sommers, Mary Huckins, Pete Huttlinger, Chris Engleman, Don Garberg, and Richie Garcia traveled to the Mt. Washington Inn near Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to play a benefit for Prince Michael of Kent. It was really interesting and the concert came off great. There’s talk in the air about a repeat performance sometime this fall in England. It was an honor to play for such nice people. 

The Lindsay Wildlife Museum Benefit was on March 30th. What an incredible evening at the Dean Lesher Theater in Walnut Creek California. Morley Nelson, who taught JD about eagles and large birds of prey came down from Boise Idaho with his son Tyler. Sandy Ostertag came in from Jackson Hole and edited some video of JD with Morley that we projected on a rear screen. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and it was a bitter sweet dream to sing John’s songs to such an appreciative audience. Man...could that guy sing. Eric and Megan Lindberg are new friends - they worked very hard to make the evening come together. Kris O’Connor helped me so much and it was hilarious being a part of the party at the end of the night - I haven’t laughed so hard in years...K.O. is an oasis in the dessert... and my life on the road and my life as a musician, have been blessed to get to hang around such a good guy. We made the museum some dough - and did a good job in the process. Life is good!

Trips back out to San Francisco to play for Stu, his beautiful wife, and their friends plus a chance to see some of my camp mates made April fly right by. My Keystone Welcome Orientation shows have slowed down now 'til June and I’m grateful to be able to represent Keystone on the ski trips as well as help them organize July 1st  and 2nd at River Run with my band and Dakota Blonde plus the Beer and Bluegrass Festival in August.

Pam-Casey-James and I leave for 9 days on a trip Buenos Aires May 8th. I play at the ski show Todo Esqui’ and they get to be tourists in one of the most beautiful cities. Late night dinners and all night discos may be in Casey’s future as she turns 15 there... a big birthday in Argentina for a young lady...(Lord help me). We are headed up to Vancouver B.C. and Whistler at the end of May for a special wedding of a very good friend of ours. Musical projects commissioned by my friend Paul in Vancouver will give us a chance to say hello to them also and I’m excited about opportunities down the road to continue to work with such a great writer. A national commercial is in the works for the summer - more about this later - and concerts in Colorado, will keep me home for the most part, except for trips to California and one in the works tent. for Australia in July... Life just keeps flying by.  

I sat down here today to tell you what I thought about the John Denver story on TV last Sunday night. Needless to say, for those of us who knew him, it was a disappointment. And to try to be above it all, I would like to go on record saying that John Denver had so much charisma as an entertainer / person they could not have found someone to play him, but to try as hard as that poor actor did, JD would have given him credit. One last note, Kris O’Connor was one of JD’s closest friends...they had a relationship that lasted 30 years. I sincerely hope A&E does a biography on John. They haven’t to date but they should and K.O. should be one of the sources. 

I am going to continue singing my songs and some of John’s... just like I’ve been doing for the past 28 years... and I’m going to work on my golf game...which really needs help!!! 

Love to you and yours. 
Look me up if you get near a show!

Jim