New album out now!

Paul Tiernan & John Lester



“The interaction that goes on between them, both overtly and covertly, is something that’s subtle and sensational."

- FolkWords


“Really one of the best sounding live albums I’ve heard! Great performances, great sound.”

- Gretchen Peters


John Lester



“Whether you regard him as an acoustic singer-songwriter, a soulful vocalist,

or a superb and innovative bassist, his talent is undeniable.”

-Time Out


John is an award winning songwriter who has, throughout his career, had one foot in the folk/rock/acoustic music scene and the other in jazz. As a writer, John was awarded the “Song of the Year Award” from the West Coast Songwriter’s Association on two occasions (in 1999 for The Ways of a Woman and 2001 for Both a Blessing and a Curse).  The title track from his 2007 release, So Many Reasons, was also the winner of the WCS International Songwriting Award for “Best Jazz Song” and he also won their “Best Humorous Song Award” for his tongue-in-cheek ditty, Beware La Merde, about a bit of advice to tourists in Paris.


“John doesn’t just have a great voice…he is a voice. Great songs that really communicate!”

- Russ Jennings, KPFA


As a solo performer, John 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 nylon string guitar, at times utilizing his instruments and a loop recorder to create live tracks for his songs and improvisations.


“Lester’s USP is his supreme mastery of all possible varieties of basses and his use of them as lead instruments…his understated virtuosity demands attention!”

- Maverick Magazine


John has released three albums of original material: “Live at the Freight and Salvage” in 1999, “Big Dreams and the Bottom Line” in 2003, and “So Many Reasons” in 2007.  John’s 2012 release, “Jazz?”, set ten modern rock cover songs into a late 1950’s jazz context and brought together John’s love for both great contemporary songwriting and the open improvisation of a jazz quartet. Released on October 2, 2012, the album steadily climbed the JazzWeek charts, entering the Top 100 in November 2012 and reaching #80 in January 2013.  It also reached #13 on the Roots Music Report jazz chart.


“His takes on rock and pop standards with great jazz sensibility and penchant for swing, make this a wonderful and fresh approach in the canon of improvised music. “

- Jim Bennet, KCSM


John recently released a new live acoustic album with Irish singer-songwriter-guitarist Paul Tiernan on January 20, 2015. John and Paul have been touring together as a duo since 2005 after meeting at the Rocheforte en Accords festival in France. The new album, entitled “Paul Tiernan and John Lester – LIVE”, was recorded on their first US tour together last spring and includes seven songs by each artist.


“The interaction that goes on between them, both overtly and covertly, is something that’s subtle and sensational, voices and instruments intertwining and blending to weave songs of influence and poise”.

- FolkWords



UpcomingShowsBushHall3 copy.jpg



Sat, August 1 - Solo Show - Private House Concert - Montara, Ca

Sun, August 23 - Bass Bureaucracy Show - DRAKES, San Leandro, CA - 2pm until 5pm

Sat, August 29 - Solo set - House Concert Fundraiser for Square Peg Foundation - Moss Beach, CA - 1pm until 4pm   If you are interested in attending this fundraiser please contact the host - Peter Finch at peterfinch@ymail.com

Fri, Sept 4 - Radio appearance KKUP "Friday Folk-off" - Cuppertino, CA - 5pm - 91.5FM www.kkup.com



Fri, Sept 11 - Double-bill w/Paul Tiernan - Private House Concert - Bolinas, CA

Sat, Sept 12 - Double-bill w/Paul Tiernan - Private House Concert - Location tba

Sun, Sept 13 - Radio appearance on KPIG w/Paul Tiernan - 10am - 107.5 FM, Freedom, CA - www.kpig.com 

Sun, Sept 13 - Double-bill w/Paul Tiernan - Private House Concert - San Mateo, CA

Tue, Sept 15 - Double-bill w/Paul Tiernan - THE ROADHOUSE - Davenport, CA - 6pm until 9pm 

Wed, Sept 16 - Double Double-bill w/Paul Tiernan AND Maurice Tani - STRINGS - Berkeley, CA - 7:30pm

Thu, Sept 17 - FULL BAND w/Paul Tiernan & Tim Bulkley (drums) - ANGELICAS - Redwood City, CA - 7:30

The Angelicas show (above) will be recorded for future audio/video release. This is a special full band show with Paul Tiernan on guitar and Tim Bulkley on drums. We will be playing new material as we head into the studio the following week to begin work on my new album project. I highly recommend this show. It is dinner show with seating starting at 6pm. Music performance starts at 7:30 until 9:30 - $17/22 - Tickets/Reservations at: Angelicasllc.com 

Fri, Sept 18 - All Acoustic Double bill w/Paul Tiernan - BAZAAR CAFE - San Francisco - 7pm until 9:30pm

Sat, Sept 19 - Double-bill w/Paul Tiernan - Private House Concert - Location tba




News & Updates