Award-winning singer-songwriter Jim Salestrom’s final liner notes are impressive.
The country and folk musician’s credits include touring the world with country icon Dolly Parton, singing and recording with folk star John Denver, and performing with a multitude of other big names, including Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Suzy Bogguss, Michael Martin Murphy and Pure Prairie League.
Salestrom released more than 20 albums, performed for four U.S. presidents, played at the Academy Awards, the Grand Ole Opry and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” as well as two HBO specials and a PBS special.
“I have been battling cancer for over a decade now. I have fought as hard as I could,” he wrote in a final Facebook post Nov. 17. “It has been an unbelievable life of travel, music, performance, singing, playing, writing, friendship, and love over decades of happiness. I’ve been so lucky to perform with incredible artists and for incredible people. Guitar has brought me all over the world to share my trade with so many audiences filled with friends and family.”
Salestrom died Nov. 22 in Arvada. He was 67.
He’s survived by his wife, Pamela Dailer Salestrom, a daughter, son and grandson. Memorial services haven’t been scheduled.
“(Music) was all-consuming,” said his older brother, Chuck Salestrom. “His music and his family were the two biggest joys in his life.”
Born in Omaha, Neb., in 1956, he honed in on music at aged 7 when he was given his first guitar. At 15, he and Chuck formed Timberline, a country, folk and rock band, that was signed a few years later to a national recording contract and toured the country. They opened for Parton, which led to Jim earning a spot in her band a few years later and touring with her through the 1980s.
At 16, Jim met Denver at Red Rocks, where the teen was setting up mics for the sound company he worked for.
“He was putting up mics on stage and a guy comes up behind him and says, ‘what are you doing with the mics?'” remembered Colorado Springs musician Ken Miller, Jim’s longtime friend. “And Jim said, ‘I’ve got to put these in the right place for the right person, because it’s for John and he’s a really big guy.’ He turns around and it’s John.”
Miller, a piano player, met Jim more than two decades ago when he helped book him for an event.
Miller remembers another of Jim’s favorite stories about Parton, who called him “JimBob.” It was during a show in Australia, when Parton had a malfunction and left the stage, leaving Jim and the band by themselves.
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“She looked at Jim and said, ‘Jim, you got it.’ And he was like ‘what?’ They were live in concert in front of 20,000 people,” Miller said. “She said, ‘you gotta do something.’ So he got to lead the Dolly Parton band through a song. He got a standing ovation.”
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