Chris Collins brings the sounds of John Denver to Hagerstown
For most people who grew up in the ‘70s, the songs of John Denver can take them back to a simpler time, before social media, technology and the fast pace of life took over the majority of their days.
For one of the nation’s leading John Denver tribute artists, Chris Collins, that is just one of the many reasons he tours nationally and internationally, bringing the image of the man and his music to life with each show.
Collins, who will be joined by Alexander Mitchell, will do just that when they take the stage at The Grand Piano Ballroom in Hagerstown on Saturday, Sept. 7.
“He had very positive music and in today’s environment that is really important and there is a longing for that kind of music,” Collins said.
Collins, of Antonito, Colo., is an award-winning singer/songwriter, who leads the band Boulder Canyon to carry on the musical legacy that John Denver gave to the world. Collins has played coast-to-coast including performances with some of John Denver’s former band members, friends and family.
Aside from playing guitar, banjo and lead vocals, Collins is also a singer-songwriter and recording engineer. He has been selected twice as a regional finalist at folk festivals in Texas.
Collins said for the past 10 years he has been taking the stage in tribute to the famous singer/songwriter, who passed away in October 1997.
“I was a big John Denver fan because he sings about all the things I care about, the longing for family and friendship and love and the feeling that you belong. I think a lot of people feel that way. I think that is why his music is still so popular so long after he is gone,” Collins said.
Although Collins often performs with the full Boulder Canyon band, for the Hagerstown performance he will be joined on stage by only Mitchell, making it a more intimate concert event.
Mitchell plays fiddle, mandolin and provides vocals. He has toured with the Missouri Repertory Theatre, appeared in the Ted Turner movie, “Gettysburg,” and played on the soundtrack. His first CD, “Chameleon,” was released to critical acclaim.
“He is also one of the most in-demand fiddle players on the east coast,” Collins said.
The show will feature some of John Denver’s famous hits such as “Rocky Mountain High,” “Annie’s Song,” “Country Roads,” and many more.
“The audience will enjoy the wonderful memories that the songs bring back,” Collins said. “They will also enjoy the musicianship. Both Alex and I are accomplished musicians.”
Collins said the duo will also play some of their original music which is not terribly dissimilar to Denver’s music.
He said like Denver, the musicians will take time in between numbers to tell stories, several of which are humorous and add to the audience enjoyment.
“We tell a lot of stories that touch people and we tell a lot of John’s stories about his life and his experiences,” Collins said.
This will be Collin’s first time performing in Hagerstown. Grand Piano Ballroom owner Tina Dorsey said she brought the artists in because she felt they would attract new people to the location.
“He came highly recommended and he even looks like John Denver,” Dorsey said.