WHEN Darren Coggan was just 13 years old, his parents took him to see John Denver live in Canberra.
It was the moment his whole life changed.
"He was the reason I wanted to become a country music singer and a songwriter," he told the Leader.
"When I first started learning the guitar at the age of six, it was his music that I started learning.
"My mum and dad bought me a songbook that was called 'An Evening with John Denver' and it was the music even at that young age that I gravitated towards. It still resonates with me in a very deep way today."
Now a multi-award winning country artist in his own right, Coggan is making the long trip to Tamworth this Saturday to take audiences on a journey through the poems, prayers and promises of the life of John Denver in his new show.
Tamworth's Capitol Theatre is the first stop on the tour, with the show to go ahead despite the postponement of the Tamworth Country Music Festival to April 18 to 24.
"I'm really happy to be still coming to Tamworth," Coggan said.
"I understand the decision had to be made to postpone the festival and I respect it but the show that I'm presenting at the Capitol Theatre, the majority of the ticketholders were local people from Tamworth and the surrounding New England area."
"The theatre is still open for business and it's exciting that there's still some entertainment on for the local people in the Tamworth community."
The two hour show will see Coggan perform all Denver's universal anthems, from Take Me Home Country Roads, Rocky Mountain High, Annie's Song, and Perhaps Love, to Thank God I'm A Country Boy, Calypso and Leaving On A Jet Plane.
A renowned storyteller, Coggan describes his performance as personal reflection, where he respectfully honours the indelible voice behind songs that the whole world sang along with.
"It's been something we've been working towards for so long, pretty much all of last year was putting together and producing this show and getting it ready and rehearsing and writing it," he said.
Denver's music still resonates with the world today, and Coggan believes the stories behind the songs are now more important than ever.
"Even though his music was written during the height of his career during the late 70s, they still resonate so strongly today," he said.
"He was one of the first people to speak for the environment before it was cool to do that. His songs have become almost like voices for our planet. They offer us a vision of living life in harmony and living together and at one with nature."
The show will be an "uplifting and joyous experience" for the audience.
"The messages are incredibly important in our world today," Coggan said.
"I think people will walk away from this show feeling very positive and uplifted and will emerge as an audience and feel pretty good about themselves."
On October 12, 1997, John Denver, at the age of 53, mysteriously lost control of his aircraft and plummeted to his death, bringing a startling and tragic end to his incredible legacy.
Darren Coggan will perform Poems, Prayers & Promises of John Denver on Saturday, January 15 at 2.30pm at the Capitol Theatre Tamworth.
For tickets, visit the Capitol Theatre ticket box, book over the phone or visit entertainmentvenues.com.au
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