Two nights of John Denver

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This weekend could produce the first impromptu wedding ceremony in the short history of Steamboat Springs Mountain Theater.

John Denver would like that.

"Annie's Song," played at more contemporary weddings than Wagner's Wedding March, will be on the set list today and Saturday when the Steamboat Springs Mountain Theater in Ski Time Square presents "Strictly John Denver," a performance by Steamboat musicians Steve Jones and John Fisher with special guest "Cowboy" Brad Fitch. Jones and Fisher are the popular local duo "The Yampa Valley Boys."

The musicians have built a repertoire of about 18 John Denver songs, and Fitch just might freak you out with how much he looks like John Denver.

Jones said he met Fitch at a Western music festival in Estes Park. They found common ground in their enthusiasm for Denver's music.

"We had a little jam session, and it didn't take long to realize we both like the music of John Denver," Jones recalled. "I ran into Brad again in Cheyenne over Labor Day. They have a thing at the festival where you sing a 30-minute set for your supper at a local restaurant. We just happened to be scheduled back-to-back with Brad, and he invited us on stage to do a couple of Denver songs. The next day we rehearsed a 45-minute set and performed it on stage."

It's hard to believe that it has been nine years since the plane crash off the coast of California killed Denver in October 1997.

Jones became a Denver fan more than 30 years ago when "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" became a hit for Peter, Paul and Mary. It wasn't until later that he associated the song with the songwriter.

Jones especially admires Denver's lyrics.

"The insights he had at age 22 or 23 -- you had to stop and think about what he had to say."

The word picture painted by the song "Back Home Again" is evocative for Jones.

The line, "This old farm feels like a long lost friend," reminds Jones of visiting an aunt or uncle.

And the lyrics, "You fill up my senses, like a night in the forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain" seem to resonate more than they ever have before.

So, if you find yourself gazing with love at the person next to you just as the musicians strum the opening chords of "Annie's Song" at this weekend's concerts, well, pop the question and see what develops.

Chances are, the right reverend Fisher will see to it that you become hitched right on the spot.

¤ Strictly John Denver

¤ Steamboat Springs Mountain Theater

¤ 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)

¤ Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and children 12 and younger

¤ Box office opens at 4 p.m. on the days of show, or purchase online at www.steamboatthea...

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