Unintentional Benefits…..

During our recent visit to the Manatee Park in Ft. Meyers, Florida, I was reminded that sometimes humans help animals without planning to.  I’m not talking about rescues or programs, just plain old human activities that benefit animals without even trying. 

Granted, most of the time humans exploit animals, and it would be easy for me to list the many ways that humans impact animal life in a negative way…….but the story of the power plant and the Manatee Park in Ft. Meyers is the perfect example of animals using humans as a tool for survival.

I’ll explain:  The power plant in Ft. Meyers was developed for humans. The plant discharges heated water into the canal that leads to the open ocean.  Somewhere in time, Manatees discovered that the warm water in the canals helped them survive if the water in the ocean became too cold for them to thrive during the winter. 

Another example from my own experience, is from when Jim and I worked on cruise ships.  We noticed that birds were flying right outside our cabin window while we were out at sea.  Our rooms were very high at the top and at the bow (front) of the ship.  The birds would cruise along right beside us, looking down.  Then they would swoop down to the ocean and scoop up the flying fish that were skimming out of the ship’s way.  The birds were using the ship as a tool to catch fish.

That’s just two that come to mind.  Let me know if you have observed a way that animals have benefited from unintentional human activity…….

Remember that the captcha is case sensitive and has no spaces in-between the characters!

How John Deutschendorf Became John Denver

Randy Sparks passed away this past February 11, 2024, at the age of 90.

Randy was a colorful and influential person in the Folk Music Industry.  He was also very personable and approachable, and he LOVED to tell stories. 

One of the stories he told us (and many others over the years) was the story in which he credits himself as the person who gave John Denver his stage name. 

Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. was performing at Randy’s club Ledbetters, when Randy commented his name wouldn’t fit on a marquee.  Randy suggested that John take the last name of Denver (Randy had written and recorded a song called “Denver” and he said the sheet music was laying there so he suggested that).  John resisted.  He very adamantly wanted to keep his family name, but he finally and reluctantly went with Randy’s suggestion.

The John Denver connection with Randy Sparks continued with John Denver recording other songs of Randy’s, including “Today” and “Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio” on multi-platinum albums. 

Blogs are supposed to be short – so this is my own abbreviated version of a very long and detailed story that Randy told me and Jim.  Randy was a  wonderful storyteller, he greatly influenced Folk Music history and many aspiring singer/songwriters…learn more on Wikipedia and The New Christy Minstrel website.

Rest in Peace:   Lloyd Arrington Sparks (July 29, 1933 – February 11, 2024)

Anne Gets a New Job…..

One of My Many Tasks on Stage: Making Jim Laugh!

Don’t panic!  I am still singing harmony and playing backup in Jim Curry’s John Denver Tribute Show!

What I meant to say is that I have taken on a new responsibility in our shows,

Here’s why:

Many of you already know that our wonderful flautist and business partner, Diane Ireland, just retired and is managing her arthritis more comfortably at home rather than in a bouncy van.  What many of you DON’T know is that Diane, in addition to playing the flute during our shows, also pushed the button that started the videos we show during each song.

This button-pushing job sounds easy…heck…what could be hard about pushing a button? 

Let me tell you that what Diane did flawlessly for so many years comes off a little less polished when I’m in charge!  I must REMEMBER to push the button at the beginning of the song or I will mess up the timing of the images.  For instance, when we are singing about eagles, we want to see eagles!  When the dolphin jumps out of the water and spins, it should be at the exact moment the music swells……if he’s late, it’s MY fault.

The button must be pushed when the song begins, not two seconds before or after.  IF I FORGET…….. I can’t skip ahead or fast-forward.  If I forget to push the button at the beginning of a song, the video will lag behind.  The eagles will be late, the horses will be late and the dolphin…….well, he will be jumping out of the water and giving me a dirty look!

This is a LOT of pressure!  Let me tell you that in the history of doing our shows for the past 25 years, I have learned how to perform every single song in every single show by NOT PUSHING A BUTTON AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY SONG!!  Let me also tell you that I have other things to think about and other buttons to push (mute button, tuner button, etc), not to mention remembering lyrics and chords and smiling and not falling down and all the other important stuff!

As old dogs go, I’m pretty much out of tricks.  I think the saying goes that old dogs CAN learn new tricks, but it takes them longer to learn. 

Soooooo….. Here’s to learning, and here’s to my new button-pushing future!

Thanks Chevrolet!

Just in case you haven’t already seen this commercial – I am featuring it in my blog this Holiday season.

Underneath the heartfelt, tear-jerking message, is the joy we felt hearing the music they used to bring their message home.

Thanks Chevrolet! We already knew that John Denver wrote the sound track of our lives…..it’s about time this is recognized by big media advertisers and the rest of the world.

Watch. Listen. Enjoy.

Happy Holidays!   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnZGEUA4oBk

Some Sketchy Hotels!

Picture 1

It’s time to begin our Christmas tour!  This year, we are driving from home base in California to shows in Michigan (Dec 2) Texas (Dec 16) back to California (Dec 20) and Arizona (Dec 23).  The show in California is technically not a Christmas show – the promoter wanted to celebrate John Denver’s 80th birthday (Dec 31, 2023).  So, a lot of driving (to avoid airline fees and car rental fees) and a lot of hotels are ahead of us this month.  It got me to thinking about the higher cost of EVERYTHING! 

Dealing with high costs requires a certain amount of flexibility.  You have to lower your expectations.  You might not want to afford to stay in the usual hotels you count on (we used to stay exclusively at Comfort Inn Hotels) you might take a chance on a hotel with a lower rate.  That leads to staying in some sketchy hotels.

Jim Connor (author of “Grandma’s Feather Bed) told a story about staying in a blackfoot hotel.  You see, the hotel was not owned by Native Americans, he called it blackfoot, because that’s what your foot looks like if you walk around without socks.

The first sketchy hotel we stayed at was in 2008…it was the worst ever!  We kept looking for a chalk outline in the parking lot, and our pleas for clean towels and sheets were answered with, “We don’t have any”.  Lesson learned: no more Knight’s Inn (never, ever).

Take a good look at the picture #1.  Yes, that is the bathroom sink on the floor.  Just last year this lovely room was offered to us at a premium price.  We had to go back to the front desk twice to get a room that was not in complete disrepair.  Jim (a fixer) is constantly baffled by the incredibly bad handiwork he sees, even in good hotels!  Bad tile work, bad plumbing, bad carpentry (a ragged notch cut in a bathroom door because the toilet was in the way of the door opening – see picture #2).  Often, Jim repairs things in the room himself before he can relax.

Picture #2

Do you have a sketchy hotel experience?  Share it here! Remember the captcha code is case sensitive and there are NO Spaces in between characters. 

A Town Called Kill Devil Hills

From sea to shining sea, life is a beach….at least it is on the edges!

Although we live on the Pacific side – seems we’ve been spending a lot of time closer to the Atlantic.  We recently visited beaches in Norfolk, Virginia and in Outer Banks, North Carolina.  Outer banks is the area where Orville and Wilbur Wright famously flew the first powered aircraft in Kitty Hawk, NC. 

Our concert was in Kill Devil Hills, NC – a very memorable show because of the enthusiastic audience (thank you, Outer Banks Forum for the Lively Arts!!)  – but what really got our curiosity going was the name of the city: Kill Devil Hills.

Once the concert was over, we spent some time with one of our hosts, David, who was more than happy (and probably asked often) to explain why the city had such a name.  In colonial times, ships full of molasses would frequently pass by on their way to ports further north.  The area had a treacherous coastline and shipwrecks were frequent.  Wrecked ships were quickly plundered, and barrels of molasses would be brought into the hills to make rum. Another name for rum was “Kill Devil” as it is told that the drink was strong enough to kill the devil himself.  Thus, the name Kill Devil Hills.

The beaches were lovely and the people welcoming….we hope to return soon!

No…..we didn’t try the rum!

This is the Blog

Hello my friends,

Lately, a couple of people have asked me the difference between my blog and the newsletter.  Sorry, I haven’t really thought about what the difference is, but they ARE very different!!  Both are published about the same time every month BUT………

The Blog: 

  1. Posted on our website and available all year for anybody online to look at.
  2. Announced on Facebook when it is posted online.
  3. Anne’s personal point of view
  4. Includes 1 photo
  5. Your comments on the blog are published with the blog online.

The Newsletter

  1. Sent directly to your email address and is not available anybody online.
  2. NOT announced on Facebook
  3. Still written by Anne, but is more of a band journal than personal thoughts
  4. Includes many photos of our travels and concerts
  5. Your comments (if you click ‘reply’) go directly to Anne and are not shared online.

So now you know!  If you want to sign up for the newsletter just go to our website home page

www.jimcurrymusic.com  scroll down and enter your email. Voila!  You will now get the newsletter!!

We are almost up to 2500 in our newsletter family and we would LOVE for YOU to join us!

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day is almost here!

I asked google what was the significance of Labor Day because I have been observing Labor Day for many, many years without really knowing what I was commemorating.  First off, it feels like an oxymoron to celebrate a holiday called Labor Day by not working….just saying.

When I looked it up, it made sense:

Labor Day:  The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.

Okay, great!  A day off from work! Yay!  But…. I am self-employed with a job that very rarely requires me to work on a Monday.  So pretty much a regular day for me, except I can’t go to the bank or post office.

I will tell Jim (my dear husband) that he should expect to rest on Monday.  Only one problem – Jim rarely rests.  Right now he is on the roof (he decided to re-roof our house) so maybe I will tell him when he comes down from the roof.  Maybe I should hide his “list of things to do” or come up with some creative reason he should take the day off.

Or maybe I will just let him work.  Jim is happier when he is working, so if he is working he will have a happy Labor Day.  As for me, I love to live in a nice house that doesn’t leak….that gives ME a happy labor day.

Whatever YOU choose to do (or NOT do)…….. Jim and I wish you a wonderful and HAPPY LABOR DAY!

That’s One Mean Sea Otter!

Jim Curry at the Memorial Plaque in Monterey, CA.
This is the Site Where JD Crashed his Plane

A familiar looking couple came up to me after one of our recent shows to say hi.  It was Jerry and Sherry, and we hadn’t seen each other since 2014!   The last time we were together was at an event called “Blue Water Weekend” a memorial gathering of John Denver fans in Monterey Bay, California.  It was a busy and fun weekend, filled with music and activities.

One of the activities we chose to do that weekend was kayaking in Monterey Bay.  It was so much fun and very memorable – mostly because some of the resident sea otters kept trying to get in our kayaks with us!  Our guide was not very cool about this as there are laws restricting us from “harassing” the wildlife, (but…. I think the wildlife was harassing us!!)  Our guide kept yelling “paddle faster!” when she saw an otter trying to make it’s way towards us.  All in all, it turned out to be a little exhausting trying to out-paddle the otters.  They certainly had the advantage in the water!  At the time, I wondered what might happen if one succeeded in getting into our kayak. 

Now it turns out, after 10 years of practicing, there is at least one otter in that area that has become famous, not only in getting on surfboards, but stealing surfboards away from the humans!  I guess when the otter jumps on, the people bail out (that’s one way to avoid “harassing” the wildlife!)

I can’t blame the otter though, he has probably been rewarded for his efforts with stolen snacks or soda  – stuff humans carry around with them.  Maybe the best reward would be getting out of the water and resting in the sun on a stolen paddleboard or surfboard.  Second best reward would be watching the humans splash and flail around in the cold Pacific.  Don’t tell me otters don’t have a sense of humor!

I told Sherry that I would post our picture from the 2014 trip (see below) and I’m looking forward to a future opportunity to kayak in Monterey Bay again.  If I do get the chance to get back there, I would try not to lose my kayak to an angry otter. 

They do have pretty sharp-looking teeth, so my trip might end with a short swim in cold water!

Our Kayak Group! Back Row: Jerry, Sherry, Diane, Danny, Tom, John, Valerie. Front Row: Jim, Anne, Barbara, Mike and Bosco

We Get the BEST Letters……Sometimes

In the past I shared one of our WORST letters (June 2022) in which a concert attendee decided that our show was terrible. 

https://jimcurrymusic.com/what-weve-learned-from-ricky-nelson-click-for-more/

Better yet, let’s forget all about that one.

Most often, we get WONDERFUL, ENCOURAGING letters from people that know how to make us smile!  Here is an excerpt from one of those letters:

…….The reason I’m writing is because at today’s show you mentioned sending in requests. I met you this afternoon Jim, to not only to congratulate you on an amazing show but also to share with you how when my brother Matthew was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two in 1977 with doctors giving him a 10% chance to live, my mom wrote to John to let him know how inspiring his song “I Want to Live” was to her and to our family. John actually wrote back. My brother made it through and is alive and well and a proud father of four. That story has always been a part of our family history.

Unfortunately, my mom never was able to see John play live either. However, after seeing you today, I just bought two tickets for Sunday’s show in Lebanon as a surprise early Mother’s day present……..
Sincerely,
Mike K.


That is only a small part of a WONDERFUL, ENCOURAGING letter from Mike K!  I am so happy to hear that brother Matthew beat the odds and has not only survived but lived to raise a family!  I’m also happy to hear that John Denver wrote back to Mike’s mother too. 

Is John Denver a part of YOUR family history?  Let me know in the comments below if you do! (Remember that the Captcha is case sensitive and NO spaces between characters)

And here is a YouTube video of Jim singing John Denver’s “I Want to Live”