Keeping John Denver's spirit alive in Estes Park
Brad Fitch, otherwise known as Cowboy Brad, has been performing in Bond Park in downtown Estes Park for 27 summers.
"It would've been 28 had not the COVID thing happened in 2020," he said.
The singer pays homage to another Colorado troubadour in his free summer concert series.
"Well, having been a kid in the 1970s raised here in Estes Park, Colorado, John Denver was everywhere. You know, the governor appointed him as the poet laureate of Colorado. He was a big influence. And his music was on the radio everywhere," said Fitch.
"Naturally I absorbed a lot of that. Now, when I started playing in the park, I noticed that people, tourists, visitors, wanted to hear John Denver music because they associate his songs with Colorado. And so I learned more and more of them."
Fitch bears more than just a passing resemblance to the famous singer.
"Well, actually, I can remember being a kid and people would say to me, you look like that guy on the radio. And, I did," said Fitch.
Over the past three decades, Fitch has performed for visitors from all around the world and all over the US, many visiting the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.
"Recently I'm getting people come up, young adults with babies, who say to me, 'my parents brought me here when I was my child's age.' That's rather startling, but it's also really nice to know that generations have been coming to hear me do this for the last 27 years," he said.
In addition to his own music, Fitch performs the John Denver songs which are crowd favorites, especially Rocky Mountain High.
"I think I play that every night of the summer," he said.
"They associate that music with this place, and I enjoy being part of their experience and sort of providing the quintessential soundtrack for their visit."
This story was shared with KSUT via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico including KSUT.
Copyright 2023 Aspen Public Radio.