Ted Vigil embraces inner ‘Country Boy’ as John Denver in concert

What do you do if you’re a singer looking for your big break and people keep telling you how much you resemble the late John Denver?

If you’re Ted Vigil you thank God you’re a country boy and embrace it.

Vigil, who performs Saturday night at the Everett Historic Theatre, didn’t intend to make a career as a tribute artist.

A drummer and singer who typically sang rock, Vigil, born in Seattle and raised in Olympia, won a regional contest at the Skagit Valley Casino Resort in 2006 and was flown to Lawson, Nevada, to compete in the Talent Quest competition with acts from 28 states, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

“I joined the country category and had prepared a Tim McGraw song, but all week people we’re telling me how much I looked like John Denver,” Vigil said Monday as he prepared to return from Denver, Colorado, where he performed for a private party alongside country singer George Strait.

Vigil listened and followed the suggestions.

“I beat out three groups by singing ‘Rocky Mountain High,’” he said.

As Vigil began to delve deeper into his doppelgänger Deutschendorf, he said he started to feel a kinship for Denver, who was a prolific recording artist in the ’70s and known for hits like “Thank God, I’m a Country Boy,” “Annie’s Song,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Denver died in 1997 in a crash of a small plane he was piloting.

“His songs are about real life and real people and real life experiences,” Vigil said.

Vigil once met Denver’s uncle, for whom the song “Matthew” was written.

“It’s about his uncle and how he grew up on a Kansas wheat farm. And I had a similar experience on a dairy farm when I was young, baling hay. I really could connect and see in all the songs that there was something I could relate to,” he said.

In his concerts, Vigil said, he likes to perform a variety of tunes from Denver’s songbook, typically upbeat songs, but also songs that people may not be as familiar with.

“And I do three or four of my own songs. One song is about John and about taking care of the environment,” a cause Denver was known for, he said.

Married for 26 years and with four children, a foster daughter and four grandkids, Vigil said family gatherings are very musical; he’ll break out his guitar for a backyard barbecue and karaoke night.

Vigil has performed in the region previously, including a concert at the Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon where he shared the stage with Denver’s lead guitarist, Steve Weisberg.

For his Everett Historic Theater concert, he’ll be joined by The Hitmen, a group of “well-seasoned” musicians he’s played with previously, Vigil said, and singer Amanda Bacon from Sequim.

And, yes, the audience is invited to sing along.

“Oh, by all means. I love it,” he said. “I’ve had a few shows where I’ve got 400 people standing up and signing ‘County Roads’ so loud I just stopped playing. It was magical. Everyone had smiles on their faces.”

A Tribute to John Denver

Ted Vigil and the Hitmen with singer Amanda Bacon and special guest Dakota perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Historic Everett Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave. Tickets, $15 to $30, are available at etix.com or at the door.

More in Life

Mukilteo’s Hani Hani scores with the police chief

The Japanese restaurant serves dishes (poke, ramen, grill) inspired by the Hawaiian islands.

‘Coco’ is another eye-popping home run for Pixar/Disney

The animated movie’s a lively, touching tale of honoring family, following dreams.

Beer of the Week: Scuttlebutt’s Barrel-aged Belgian Winter

Made in 2013, the dark strong ale was stowed away in barrels. The brewery tests one each year.

‘Love, Chaos and Dinner’ an Teatro ZinZanni’s original show

The “Parsian cabaret” is a superb circus dinner theater operation in Marymoor Park through April 29.

Heavy Hollywood headlines: Robert Horton’s movies preview

In the midst of all the sexual-misconduct allegations, the holiday film season offers some relief.

Denzel Washington’s remarkable performance isn’t helped by plot

The actor is convincing as an awkward, eccentric lawyer, but unconvincing contrivances pile up.

‘The Breadwinner’ animation is strong, but its story is stilted

The Cartoon Saloon film never lets you forget that you’re here to learn an important lesson.

Pianist Kaitlyn Gia Lee, 10, of Mill Creek, will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major on Nov. 26 with the Everett Philharmonic Orchestra.
Young pianist to perform Mozart with Everett Philharmonic

Kaitlyn Gia Lee, 10, of Mill Creek, will play the piano at the Music for the Imagination concert.

Liz Oyama as Belle, Jimmi Cook as Gaston and John Han as Lefou star in the Edmonds Driftwood Players production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” opening Nov. 24. Magic Photo
In Driftwood’s ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ Belle has girl-power bend

Edmonds Driftwood Players presents Disney’s adaptation of the fair tale Nov. 24 through Dec. 17.

Most Read