IT WAS the crystal clear quality of the late John Denver's voice that spoke to a young New Zealand boy, Bevan Gardiner.
"When I was about six or seven we went on a family holiday and my father pulled out, just randomly, a cassette tape of John playing live," Gardiner said. "It was his larger than life persona and the crystal clear quality of his voice that spoke to me. He's very inspirational musically as well as his humanitarian work."
Australian audiences got a taste of Gardiner's talent when he was the support act for American country singer Charley Pride.
That led to Gardiner's return to the country on his own tour, in which he will visit regional centres and cities.
His tour includes a stop in Rockhampton on August 20.
The show also has John Denver Management approval, and is authorised by Harold Thau, Denver's long-time personal manager and friend.
The performance is more than a tribute show.
In addition to live performances of the songs from Denver's extensive catalogue, the show also features exclusive archival film footage of Denver.
TAKE ME HOME TOUR
WHAT: The Music and Life of John Denver performed by Bevan Gardiner
WHERE: The Pilbeam Theatre, 8pm
WHEN: Wednesday August 20, 8pm
TICKETS: adults $69, pensioner $59
This covers his concerns for the environment, his love of life, and explains the inspiration for many of his hit songs. Gardiner was fortunate enough to meet some of John's family members twice, including his mother Irma Deutschendorf, and brother, Ron.
"It's really exciting to be doing this," he said.
"It's really humbling that people want to see it and I really enjoy the whole concept of portraying John.
"I listen to a lot of other music, of course, but I guess I loved the emotion he would put into his music, which was really refreshing. His songs are timeless and I think that's why people still want to hear them."
With his first baby on the way and engaged to be married soon, there's plenty of things to look forward to for Bevan.
"I'm teaching now; I teach guitar, drums and singing," he said.
"I haven't written much of my own music lately.
"Being out of your home environment makes it difficult, but when I get back I'd like to.
"Hopefully (his own record) it will be in the pipeline."
Gardiner is partially sighted, and can only see people as silhouettes, but this has never held him back from enjoying life and, in particular, his love of music.
"I'm still really taken by the live stage again," he said. "As long there's a demand for the show we'll keep doing it. I'm just really grateful that I get to do this and that people enjoy it."
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