• John Denver-How he’s affected my life and my style

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    I have a real soft spot for John Denver. He’s affected me in many ways, from musical influence to "long distance friend." How could this be you might ask? I’m a New Age piano pianist, not a folk guitarist! And how do I explain this "friendship" with him? Well, it’s all about how you look at the word friendship and what that means.

    Of course, I never met John Denver, although I wish I had. I think he would have been a great guy to hang out with for an afternoon. And I guess that’s what I’m talking about here. When I listen to the music of John Denver, I feel a connection to him that I can’t describe as anything but friendship. It’s welcoming, accepting, deep, reflective and hopeful. Sometimes he asks the hard questions, and sometimes he just likes to keep it simple. He sings, and he listens. It’s almost as if you know him, because he bares his soul to his listeners in a way that few other musicians are brave enough to do. If this isn’t a form of friendship, I’m not sure what is.

    Musically his melodies are some of the most beautiful ever written, and the way he uses his voice to communicate these melodies comes straight from his soul. It strikes a chord deep within every person who’s open to hearing it, and in so doing moves the energy from the mind to the heart to the Spirit. There’s also a very natural element to what John does, which seems to connect the listener to the forces of nature and world that we live in through music. His chords and chord progressions take you from the mountains to the plains to the ocean, the planet over. Add to that lyrics with a message and you have something that is truly remarkable, and rarely seen in mainstream music.

    So yes, I’m a New Age pianist. But having listened to John and his recordings with love an passion I’ve been able to adopt many of the same elements into what I do. I don’t have the lyrical component in my music, as I’m an instrumentalist, but to me that doesn’t really matter as the music speaks for itself. You can hear some of John’s "licks" in my piano style, but more importantly you can experience much of the same feel in what I do. I’ve tried to recreate that sense of oneness that John was able create with such ease. And while I’ll never be as good at it as he was, I’d like to think that I succeed to a degree. Everything that I write is inspired, in the beginning, by something natural. When I create, I see rivers and streams, greening spring and falling leaves. And I communicate that in my performances and recordings.

    So It’s clear that John Denver has influenced what I do, and affected my life a large way, and I thank him dearly for that. He’ll never know it, at least not in a physical form that interacts with me directly. But I think he did know that he was changing lives, and that it was his pleasure to do that. He was an artist and a servant to man. I salute him, and hope one day, to meet him in the "Big Sky Country." Thank you John.

    Donovan Johnson is an internationally recognized New Age pianist and recording artist. His music combines folk, classical and contemporary styles to create a unique sound all it’s own, and is available through many websites and radio stations. To learn more, visit his website at www.donovanjohnson.net. Or visit his online New Age piano radio station at www.enlightenedpiano.com!

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