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New album "fathers and Sons" available now!




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John Lester

Singer-Songwriter-Bassist (multi-instrumentalist)   


"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 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.

  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 two years in 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.

   John is now booking live shows in support of his new album Fathers and Sons.





tuesdays, aug 7, 14, 21, 28 - 'bass bureaucracy' residency at jupiter, berkeley

Spend your hot August nights with me at Jupiter in Berekely with my all bass and drums looping project 'Bass Bureaucracy'. Every Tuesday night in August from 8pm-11pm with a new guest drummer and/or bassist each week. no cover charge

SUNDAY, OCT 28 - 'bass bureaucracy' AT y2k18 loopfest in santa cruz                       - with special guest steve uccello

I'm looking forward to working with Monterey bassist Steve Uccello as we lay down loops, grooves, basslines, and beats with my all bass/drums project "Bass Bureaucracy". We will be one of many groups/artists performing at the weeklong Y2K18 Looping Festival in Santa Crus between Oct 23 and Oct 30th. More details tba

FRIDAY, November 2 - private house concert (PIEDMONT, CA)

This event is for invited guests only but you can attend by RSVPing to: House concert address will be sent to all RSVPs two days prior to the show.

 SATURDAY, November 10 - private house concerT (SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA)

This event is for invited guests only. Want to host your own house concert? Email me at:

I am currently booking more venues and house concerts for Fall/Winter 2018 and Spring/Summer 2019. For booking info please contact my record label Ambit Acoustic Records at















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