“The Music of John Denver featuring Layne Yost,” January 21

Saturday, January 21, 7 p.m.

Ohnward Fine Arts Center, 1215 East Platt Street, Maquoketa IA

Delivering a live performance of iconic country and folk favorites, a trio of Wisconsin musicians brings their tribute The Music of John Demnver featuring Layne Yost to Maquoketa’s Ohnward Fine Arts Center on January 21, presenting a salute to the Grammy-winning legend that will boast such unforgettable songs as “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “You Fill Up My Senses,” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”

Born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. in 1943, Denver was a songwriter, record producer, actor, activist, and humanitarian whose greatest commercial success came as a solo singer. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career with folk-music groups during the late 1960s, and by the start of the ’70s, he was one of the most popular and best-selling acoustic artists of the decade, with AllMusic.com calling him “among the most beloved entertainers of his era.” Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he also composed. He had 33 albums and singles that were certified gold and platinum in the U.S, with estimated sales of more than 33 million units, and he recorded and performed primarily with an acoustic guitar, singing about his joy in nature, disdain for city life, enthusiasm for music, and relationship trials.

Denver’s music appeared on a variety of charts, including Billboard‘s country music, Hot 100, and adult contemporary lineups, with the artist earning 12 gold and four platinum albums with his signature songs “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Annie’s Song,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Calypso,” “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” and “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” Prior to his 1997 death in a plane crash, Denver was inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame, earned an Emmy Award for his TV special An Evening with John Denver, and received three American Music Awards, two Country Music Association Awards, and an Academy of Country Music Award for 1974’s Back Home Again, which was named Album of the Year. A year after Denver’s passing, he also received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” and having lived in Aspen for much of his life, Denver was named Colorado’s poet laureate in 1974, with the Colorado state legislature adopting “Rocky Mountain High” as one of its two state songs in 2007.

The headliner for The Music of John Denver, Layne Yost is from Bloomer, Wisconsin, and started playing guitar at age 14. He played folk and acoustic venues in the Chicago area, and also saw two John Denver shows during his college years in the early ‘70s, both times at the McCormick Place in Chicago. The most compelling aspect of both shows, Yost believed, was the sense of closeness – the connection between John Denver on stage and every member of the crowd. It was like being back around that campfire of years before, sharing songs with good friends, and Yost has said of his concerts, “That’s the type of show I want and need to play: intimate, close, connected.”

Joining Yost on upright bass, Jon Shimoda grew up around Detroit, Michigan, and since high school, has played in a number of different musical groups in Chicago and Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Carol McDowall, from rural Spooner, Wisconsin, performs on fiddle and provides vocal harmony, coming to the act with a background in fiddle tunes, jazz, contra and square dance, and traditional old-time fiddle. She is also first violin with the Red Cedar Symphony Orchestra, as well as a fiddler with the Second Wind String Band.

The Music of John Denver featuring Layne Yost will enjoy its Maquoketa engagement on January 21, admission to the 7 p.m. concert event is $13-25, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)652-9815 and visiting OhnwardFineArtsCenter.com.

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