Since I’ve listened to and have known John over the last two years, I’ve been honored to know someone who is a true musician. John takes pride in his music, from working diligently on a melody line for two to ten hours and then two or three days of recording the song flawlessly. And if that’s not enough, he goes in and tweaks instruments and the mix until it is perfected even more.
There are several styles of music at play in John’s genre. I would almost categorize him as unique, because the music can cross genre into many styles. John and I have done several songs together after the 2007 6-Pack competition on Broadjam as The Abbey Normals. He has also worked with several other Broadjam members that I will cover in future articles; Phoebe Blume, Larry Carr, and Margaret McClure. Currently, John is working with male Country singer Jeff Twardzik to release his set of Country driven music to the marketplace. As you see, there is quite the coverage of music styles and I’ll cover a few of them below.
Before I review, I have to say, that there is a deep emotional connection between what John writes and sings about in his music. That alone is so refreshing to hear in this cookie-cutter-looped world of music that we live in nowadays. Some people think they can go to a seminar and chunk out a hit after a couple of hours. While others work at their craft to find the tie to themselves and what will inevitably become a hit, just from sharing the music that resides in their heart and soul. Nothing against people who can go to a seminar and cough up a hit in two hours, but what’s invested in it and what story does that tell? I always thought the late comedian Bill Hicks said it best, “I like my music written by people who have experienced life.” And so do I. You can hear it in their playing and you can hear it in their expression of their lyrics. That’s what ties us to the artist and that’s what makes us invest our time in getting to know them through their music. John has this, hands down, a true songsmith.
The first track that I heard was “Wanderings”. This is a beautiful guitar instrumental that could be used for soundtracks on TV or Film. This song is sensitive and brooding, but loving and honest at the same time. It could also be categorized as New Age, Jazz and softer side of Country. Like I said above, it is the most beautiful guitar song that I have ever heard.
The second track is “Heaven and Earth”. Again, another beautiful guitar instrumental that could be used for TV and Film. This song, as with “Wanderings” takes me away and paints a picture of mountains, open fields, puffy clouds in the sky, the sun on your face…but it will paint a different picture for everyone else out there.
The third song is "It Won't Be Christmas Without You". This song has vocals done by Jeff Twardzik. Right out of the gate on this song, I hear hit potential. A new Christmas song for the Country marketplace and maybe the Blues marketplace. Jeff’s killer voice coupled with John’s stellar guitar and instrumentation is a good chemistry fit. Somewhere in here, I see a small town Christmas scene set in the 60s.
The last song I’ll cover is “A Dog’s Life”. Now believe me, I could cover John’s entire catalog, but I want you all to go to his page and listen to his music on your own without me commenting on everything. Just know that I could. Here’s a great song with John doing the vocals. I know that he doesn’t like to hear his voice too much, but you know what, this is a great vocal song. He sings its so well. I still, to this day, will have this song pop into my head at the funniest of times when I’m out shopping or at work dealing with the day to day madness. That says something about a song that is so catchy that you can sing it in the car without it playing. The lyrics say it all, you can try all you want, but sometimes you just can’t win and a dog’s life is better than this.
Here are a couple of videos for John’s music. “Wanderings” I pieced together footage I had of John, with some animation and photos, like you are wandering through a journey in many places.
“A Dog’s Life” is one that John put together a slide show and then I took it to another level with some animation done with CrazyTalk 5.
“Scarecrow’s Daydream” is another favorite instrumental. John did all the video work on this one, and it tells the story with the music so well.
Last, but not least, “Trying to Find the Way Back to Your Heart” by The Abbey Normals. I put this video together with a bunch of public domain movie footage just for fun to tell the story of the song. We’ll be working on more pieces in the future, so stay tuned.