Vigil brings Denver’s music to Packard
WARREN — His future wife’s mother was the first one to mention the resemblance.
“I got out of high school, was growing my hair out a little longer, and she said, ‘Yeah, he looks like John Denver,” Ted Vigil said.
That would have been in the early, mid-1980s. But it wasn’t until 20 years later that the 55-year-old Vigil decided to turn that resemblance into a John Denver tribute, the show he will bring to Packard Music Hall on Nov. 14 as part of the Warren Civic Music Association’s 2019-20 season.
That decision came after he won an international singing competition in 2006 in Laughlin, Nevada, performing one of Denver’s songs.
“I sang it more like myself. It wasn’t a thing where people were doing impersonations,” he said.
He originally signed up to compete in the rock vocalist category but, “People convinced me to do a John Denver song. I thought what the heck, joined the country category and ended up winning first place.”
To truly play the man known for such songs as “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” the former drummer had to teach himself how to play guitar. But for the last decade, Vigil has traveled as far as New Zealand playing Denver’s music.
“I grew up with the music,” he said during a telephone interview from his home in Washington state. “My mom was a big fan. I remember the 8-track tapes she’d put on in the station wagon. I loved the music as a kid, but like most teenagers, you want to break free from your parents’ music.”
Breaking free meant meant playing drums in hard rock band, but he gravitated back to that music as he got older.
“I liked being able to understand the lyrics,” he said.
Vigil admitted he only was familiar with the big radio hits growing up. It wasn’t until he started portraying Denver that work on environmental issues and battling world hunger.
“He was quite an amazing human being,” he said. “It changed my way of looking at John and his music.”
Vigil said his show runs about 90 minutes, but he can play more than three hours of Denver favorites. Those attending next week’s concert can expect to hear the hits, but Vigil also likes to work in lesser-known songs like “Love Is the Master,” “For You” and “Like a Sad Song” where he can.
“I definitely appreciate the deep cuts, and I think the fans do too.”
And Vigil includes one original song in his concert.
“It’s a song about being a musician and what that’s like,” he said. “It’s a tribute to John and his music called ‘Sing My Songs When I’m Gone.'”
WHO: Warren Civic Music Association — Ted Vigil (John Denver tribute)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 14
WHERE: Packard Music Hall, 1703 Mahoning Ave. NW, Warren
HOW MUCH: $40 and are available through Ticketmaster and by calling 330-841-2931 or 330-399-4885.