Sunday, August 25, 2013

John Butler :One Of The Best Bands You Never Heard Of!

John Charles Butler
John Butler
John Butler is an Australian guitarist, musician, and singer. He fronts the John Butler Trio and the band is very popular in Australia. John Butler’s music is not easily classified but has influences of styles including folk, rock, Eastern, Celtic and bluegrass all rolled into one. He sings and plays a variety of instruments including the guitar, the lap steel guitar, ukulele, banjo and didgeridoo. In 1998 John Butler was busking on the streets of Fremantle, West Australia. 3500 self-funded cassette sales served as the foundation for becoming Australia’s most successful independent artist ever. Fast forward to 2009 and his label Jarrah Records has now been responsible for 800,000 CD sales in Australia.

 John Butler was born in California in 1975– his mother American and his father Australian. After his parents divorced in 1986, John Butler was taken to live in Australia by his father along with his brother and sister. The family moved to the small Western Australia town of Pinjarra where John Butler attended school. John Butler started learning the guitar aged 16 and was given his Grandfather’s 1930 Dobro guitar by his grandmother. This guitar was to be given to the first grandchild in the family to learn the guitar and it is one of John Butler’s most treasured possessions. In 1996 John Butler attended Curtin University Perth to train as an art teacher, but continued with his music. Though he spent the first 11 years of his life in California, it was in Australia -- his father's native land -- that guitarist John Butler picked up the instrument that would later launch his music career.

 One of John Butler’s strongest musical influences was fellow Aussie musician Jeff Lang. John Butler was inspired by Lang’s use of open tunings which gave his music a slightly Indian / Celtic feel and he started to compose his own music in the same way. He started performing in Freemantle, performing his own songs and compositions, selling his home recorded cassettes of his instrumental compositions titled “Searching for Heritage”. He dropped out of university in 1998 to concentrate on his music and after local music promoter Phil Stevens bought his cassette and offered him a regular spot at his Mojos nightclub in Freemantle, John Butler quickly gathered a fan base and Stevens became his manager. John Butler formed the trio in 1998 with the addition of bass player and drummer and recorded first album “John Butler” in 1998.  However, the breakthrough came with the bands second album “Three”, released in 2001, which later went Platinum. “Sunrise over the Sea” followed in 2004 was awarded 5 x Platinum and is the most successful album to date. “Grand National” from 2007 and “April Uprising” released 2010 have also reached number one is Australia and gone Platinum. The band has also released two successful live albums. John Butler has started playing outside of his native Australia but has yet to become a household name aboard.

John Charles Wiltshire Butler
John Charles Butler
In 2009 he toured the US and also played a couple of dates in the UK including the Cambridge folk festival. Still partnered with Jarrah Records, the indie label that he and fellow Aussies the Waifs had founded in order to distribute their music overseas, Butler released Grand National worldwide in March 2007. Grand National was an ambitious project, featuring more instruments than the band's past releases, as well as multiple guest appearances. It was also the last album to feature band members Shannon Birchall and Michael Barker, as Butler restructured the trio's lineup in 2009 in order to keep the music fresh. Featuring bassist Byron Luiters and drummer Nicky Bomba, the revised John Butler Trio returned to the studio later that year to commence work on April Uprising, the band's fifth studio album, which was released in early 2010. While touring later that year, the group recorded a particularly memorable performance at Red Rocks Amphitheater, which was packaged into a three-disc live album and released in 2011 as Live at Red Rocks.

John Butler is known as the million dollar hippy after making it onto the Australia rich list and he has won numerous Australian music industry awards including Best Male Artist in 2004. JBT have taken their music to the world and continue to grow in stature and popularity in USA, Europe and Japan. They have become favorites at iconic festivals such as Fuji Rock Festival, Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, Big Day Out, and Coachella where Bruce Fessier of USA Today said “John Butler revealed himself to be arguably the finest guitarist at Coachella Festival“.

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