Bringing timeless music to life: Layne Yost band performs John Denver songs in tribute concert
ROSEMOUNT — Relive the music of John Denver during a tribute concert in Rosemount.
"The Layne Yost Pays Tribute to John Denver" concert is planned for 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, at The Rosemount Steeple Center.
"I first heard his music on an album in college in the early 1970s, and I became an instant fan — it was an immediate attraction and I had to learn all of his songs," said lead singer Layne Yost.
Yost plays the guitar and admits he loves performing alongside his good friends and respected musicians, Jon Shimoda, who plays the upright bass and Carol McDowall, a classically-trained violinist.
The tribute concert and music is still relevant and popular with audiences.
"It is like a very musical documentary," Yost said.
As a college student, Yost began singing on stage as a way to work his way through school. He sang at clubs and coffee houses in the Chicago area.
"Out of school I played at restaurants and vineyards after college and in variety shows," Yost said.
Although he never met Denver, he did attend two of his concerts at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Learning to play the guitar at 14 years old and performing music at his local YMCA summer camp, Yost, 67, said he loves music and has been entertaining for most of his life.
"It was so much fun sitting around the campfire playing songs and singing songs," Yost said. "That is where it all began."
The music collection of Denver includes songs written like wonderful poetry, Yost said. Denver grew into an incredible songwriter.
"He is kind of known for writing almost every song in a major key and there were no dark minors, kind of adding a theme of suspension behind them and they were just joyful music, joyful tunes," Yost added. "If you start with the melodies, the music is pleasing and sometimes complex in hidden ways and they are mostly joyful."
When asked what his favorite song is, Yost laughed and said he can't say, it's too hard a question. Perhaps like asking a parent to choose their favorite child.
Yost said a few of his favorite tunes are "Rocky Mountain High," "Country Roads," "Sunshine on My Shoulders" and "Thank God I am a Country Boy."
"People are somewhat reluctant to cover his music because it is a bunch of high-level songs and it is hard to do his songs justice," Yost said.
The concert will include 25 to 30 of Denver's songs. The tribute band began performing together four years ago.
Retired two and a half years ago, Yost practiced law for more than 20 years in Eau Claire, Wis., and then taught legal subjects for the Wisconsin Department of Justice at a college for 15 years. Musician Shimoda is a retired chiropractor and McDowall works today as a professional musician.
When Yost performed at Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre just outside Eau Claire, he said he realized there was a demand to hear Denver's music.
One Valentine's Day weekend he performed a show and tickets sold out in 10 days and another gig sold out in seven days.
"We realized there was a lot of desire to hear that wonderful music," Yost said.
During the tribute concert, some longtime fans become nostalgic and need to wipe away happy tears, Yost said.
"My goal is to create a show that is like I just invited everyone to sit around a campfire and come sit in front of a fireplace that is relaxed and where singing along is highly encouraged," Yost said. "A lot of people enjoy coming up to me during the shows and describing their interactions with him and I am always pleased to hear that."
For tickets go to www.rosemountarts.com or call John Loch at 952-255-8545.
To find out more about the band, visit www.layneyost.com.