"This is a strong album. 'The Beautiful Princess of Never Come True' is a total sledge hammer to the heart!" - Peter Finch, The Finch Files (formerly of KFOG San Francisco)
“John doesn’t just have a great voice, he is a voice! Great songs that really communicate.” - Russ Jennings, KPFA, Berkeley
John Lester’s new album, Fathers and Sons, is a collection of his most personal and powerful work yet. Inspired by the often unspoken family relationships between men, each song messages the love, pain, tension, struggle, and questions that arise and confound these ties and bonds. From the full acceptance and embrace of a young boy’s gender fluidity in “The Beautiful Princess of Never Come True”, to the merciful attempts at reconciliation with an estranged father during his final days in “The High Road”, to the feeling of forever growing family love in “Real, Real Love”, John’s life experience as a father, husband, son, teacher, and songwriter is felt throughout each song.
John has collaborated with incredibly talented musicians from around the globe and from many phases of his career for this recording. With John on vocals, acoustic basses, guitars, and ukulele, the core band is rounded out by his long-time European touring partner Paul Tiernan on acoustic guitars and background vocals, and New York drummer Tim Bulkley. Grammy-nominated songwriter Gretchen Peters (background vocals) and Nashville pianist Barry Walsh guest on the opening track while other contributors include Bay Area drummer Michael Urbano, Baxter Roberston on Hammond organ, six string bassist Steve Lawson, and Grammy award-winning fretless bassist Michael Manring. John’s two sons, ages eleven and nine, also make a guest appearances on vocals.
Fathers and Sons was recorded in the San Francisco Bay Area at 25th Street Recording by Grammy award-winning engineer Michael Rosen (Rob Wasserman, Santana, Country Joe McDonald, Green Day) and mastered by Randy Merril at New York’s Sterling Sound (John Mayer, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon). Randy won this years mastering Grammy for his work on Adele's 25.
“His trademark voice sounds like it has been crafted from silk & granite all at the same time.” - Maverick Magazine
John has released six albums to date: “Live at the Freight and Salvage” in 2001, “Big Dreams and the Bottom Line” in 2003, “So Many Reasons” in 2007, "Jazz?" in 2012, "Live ~ with Paul Tiernan" in 2015., and now “Fathers and Sons” in 2017.
Back in San Francisco after over a decade living in Europe and New York City, John has carved a niche touring circuit throughout the US, the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, and The Netherlands. As a solo performer, he has created a unique show featuring his 100-year-old upright bass named Sarah (after Sarah Vaughan, for her lovely vocal-like quality). He also plays acoustic and electric bass guitars, as well as baritone steel string guitar, nylon string guitar, and ukulele, at times utilizing a loop recorder to create live tracks for his songs and improvisations. See the Shows page for upcoming tour dates.
Recent SHOWS ~
JUNE 11 KPIG Radio - Live appearance on "Please Stand By" with Sleepy John Sandige
JUNE 18 THE FREIGHT AND SALVAGE - Fathers and Sons album launch - dbl bill with Steve Seskin
UPCOMING SHOWS ~
SATURDAY, JULY 1 - BENEFIT HOUSE CONCERT - in MOSS BEACH, CA SUPPORT SET FOR LIAM McCORMACK
Former KFOG DJ, Peter Finch is hosting this benefit house concert for MUSIC IN SCHOOLS TODAY. There is a $50 suggested donation (for a great cause) and beer is provided my Half Moon Bay Brewing Co (my all time favorite beer!). Peter and his wife Alice always put host a great show! I opened for Liam two years ago and he is a very dynamic singer-songwriter. If you are interested in attending contact Peter for details at: email@example.com
WEDNESDAY, JULY 12 - JUPITER - 2181 Shattuck Avenue, BERKELEY, CA BASS BUREAUCRACY SHOW w/Special guest tba
I'll be laying down three sets of looping grooves with my bass/vocal and drums project "Bass Bureaucracy" at my favorite East Bay haunt ~ Jupiter. We hit at 8pm and play until 11pm. Swing on through if you're in Berkeley.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 6 - HOPMONK NOVATO - KC TURNER PRESENTS SUNDAY COOKOUT SERIES - NOVATO, CA SUPPORT SET FOR CHARLIE HUNTER TRIO (Doors 5pm, Show 6pm) click here for tickets
I have been a fan of Charlie Hunter's for a long time. The way he can play bass and guitar simultaneously is mind boggling and the grooves he and his trio lay down are phat and funky! The gig is in HopMonk Novato's beautiful beer garden. Tickets in advance are highly recommended!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 19 - THE BLUEBIRD, Nashville, TN IN-THE-ROUND SHOW with GRETCHEN PETERS, CRAIG CARUTHERS, and DON HENRY
I will be traveling to Nashville to join these three Grammy-winning/nominated songwriters for an in-the-round show at the world famous Bluebird Café. I was in the company of these three amazing performers back in 2005. Though I started first, the way in-the-round works, I also followed these hit writers when it was my turn again! Challenging but I held my own and what an honor to be in their company.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 - JOHN LESTER BAND at ANGELICAS in REDWOOD CITY, CA (7:30pm, dinner/doors 6pm) FEATURING BAXTER ROBERTSON (PIANO/KEYS), MICHAEL MANRING (FRETLESS BASS), & DANIEL BERKMAN (DRUMS)
This will be my first full band show in support of the new album "Fathers and Sons" and what a band it's going to be! Baxter Robertson played Hammond organ on two tracks on the album (Train Song & Love Attack) and has been with me many times at Angelicas. Michael Manring was also featured on the album (They Come and They Go & Little Lullaby) and is one of the worlds leading electric bassists. Such an honor to have him on bass as I will play allot of guitar, ukulele, and will do some two-bassist songs with him. Daniel Berkman is a true renaissance man playing electronic percussion as well as a myriad of other instruments who has been on numerous Bay Area shows with me over the last few years.
This is a dinner show with table reservations starting at 6pm. We play two sets between 7:30 and 9:30 pm. We'll be video taping this evening some please come join us for this very special show.
FALL EUROPEAN DOUBLE-BILL TOUR with PAUL Tiernan
NOVEMBER 8 - PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT - Bochum, Germany (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 9 - KOMBUSE - Obendorf, Germany (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 10 - ZIMMER - Berlin, Germany (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 11 - PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT - Brandenburg, Germany (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 12 - THE PHOENIX, Lauffen, Germany (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 14 - PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 15 - KANAPEE - Hannover, Germany (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 16 - KANAPEE (2nd night added) - Hannover, Germany (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 17 - venue tba - Oberrieden, Switzerland (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 18 - venue tba - Zurich, Switzerland (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 19 - ALTE BAHNHOFSHALLE - Alte Bahnhofshalle - Berlin-Freidenau, Germany (w/Paul Tiernan)
NOVEMBER 20 - PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT - Werl, Germany (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)
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