James Garrett Brings John Denver to Life At Branson’s Little Opry Theatre

Courtesy of RCA

Courtesy of RCA

John Clise

It’s one of the top rated morning shows in Branson and in fact has held that title for a number of years, James Garrett’s  A Tribute to John Denver seen at the Little Opry Theatre in the IMAX Entertainment Complex at 10 a.m., Monday through Saturday.

James has found a home in Branson and brings his experience of performing and recording John Denver’s music and Denver’s brilliant legacy to the stage with each show.

Along the way in singing Denver’s biggest hits, as well his lesser known hits, James intertwines facts and memories of Denver into the show offering his take on what Denver meant to him and to so many others.

As part of the show he asks audience members to share their memories of Denver and recall concerts they attended. Audience members are more than happy to become part of the share and share their own memories of Denver with James and the other audience members.

The show comes across as an intimate experience among friends, which surely Denver would have enjoyed himself. James also has an all-star band backing him up including Randy Plummer on bass; Shannon Comer on percussion; Shawn Pittman playing a variety of instruments; and Melonie Brown on vocals.

The tribute even has the approval of John’s mom, Erma, who has attended the show and declared that she “loved every minute of it.”

That in itself should be enough to get John Denver fans through the front door as well as casual fans of the late singer seeking to learn more about his life and legacy.

According to his website, James returned to Branson in 2001 to co-found Thunder Ranch, a 71-acres ranch dedicated to providing a safe haven for foster and disabled children, now known as Jacob’s House at Thunder Ranch.  For the next six years, James took time from his touring to perform at the Jim Stafford Theater in Branson to raise money and awareness for Thunder Ranch. He is still actively involved in raising money for the ranch and serves on the Board of Directors. For this as well as his other benevolent contributions to the Branson community, James was awarded the 2009 Branson Spirit Award.

This cause is something he talks about during his show along with sharing his own young life and how the two intertwine. Folks attending the show can also contribute to his ranch to help these youngsters in need.

According to his website, James spent a number of years touring and recording with the two-time Grammy award winning country group, The Kendalls, best known for the mega-hit “Heaven’s Just a Sin Away.” When Jeannie’s Father, Royce, passed away in May of 1998, Jeannie asked James to sing lead with her. They toured and recorded as a duo for many years after.

In addition to the performing with the Kendalls, James has performed with Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, Rosanne Cash, the Osmond Brothers (including Donnie and Marie), and Larry Gatlin among many others.

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