Back in the mid-1970s, the teen-aged DLC was a big fan of John Denver – not so much for Denver’s (sometimes) overly sweet lyrics or his meticulously managed image on a popular series of TV specials with other major musical artists, but for the rich, earthy acoustic instrumentation that sparked Denver’s seemingly endless string of hit songs to life. Two of the driving forces behind Denver’s performances both in the studio and onstage were the late Steve Weisberg, playing guitar, dobro and pedal steel, and John Martin Sommers on guitar, banjo, mandolin and the fiery fiddle that made “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” (a pure bluegrass song that was also written by Sommers) a huge and enduring hit on pop and rock radio charts. As multi-instrumentalists, both pickers were massive influences on DLC’s own determination to play as many instruments as he possibly could as well as he possibly could.

John Martin Sommers and me and Jim Curry  Wichita Falls Memorial Auditorium

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band multi-instrumental wizard John McEuen introduced DLC to Weisberg a few years ago, and the two immediately hit it off; even discussing doing some recording together before Wiesberg became too debilitated by the cancer that eventually took his life. But, while recently covering an upcoming local appearance by Jim Curry, who beautifully celebrates Denver’s life and music through a popular tribute stage show, DLC also had the opportunity to meet and interview Sommers; and, again, the two immediately hit it off. Sommers is an incredibly nice and graciously modest gentleman who seemed genuinely flattered that someone was so profoundly effected by his own contributions to Denver’s trademark sound.

Jim Curry with John Sommers

In his life as a working musician and prolific music journalist, DLC has been pleased to meet and get to know many, many of the legendary musicians and entertainers whose work he has respected and been so deeply influenced by for so long. But, being among DLC’s top five all-time favorite musical heroes for so many years, meeting and getting to know John Martin Sommers was an extra special experience.  (Top Photo: John Martin Sommers, DLC and Jim Curry; photo by Anne Curry. Bottom Photo: Jim Curry Presents The Music Of John Denver, L-R Diane Ireland, John Sommers, Jim Curry, Tom Williams and Anne Curry)