John Lester

Singer-Songwriter-Bassist (multi-instrumentalist)


“John doesn’t just have a great voice, he is a voice! Great songs that really communicate.” - Russ Jennings, KPFA


   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) and mastered by Randy Merril at New York’s Sterling Sound (John Mayer, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon).

“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 UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the US. 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.


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SUNDAy, June 18 - 2pm father's day show - THE FREIGHT AND SALVAGE, BERKELEY, CA

I'm very pleased to announce the release of my new album "Fathers and Sons" with this very special Father's Day double-bill matinee show with Steve Seskin. Steve and I will each play solo and collaborate on stage together, sharing songs and stories about fatherhood, family, and more.     click here for more info 

THE FREIGHT AND SALVAGE - 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA  (510)644-2020                             2pm (doors open at 1pm), tickets $20 advance/$24 at the door, $12 under 18 years old   





SUNDAY, JUNE 11 (10am) - LIVE APPEARANCE ON KPIG Radio 107.5 Freedom, CA (Santa Cruz/Monterey)    I'll be headed down to one of my favorite radio stations ever...KPIG to chat with Sleepy John about  the new album on his show "Please Stand By". I'll play a few tunes as well. If you are not in the  Santa Cruz/Monterey area, you can listen on the internet via the link above.




SATURDAY, AUGUST 19 - THE BLUEBIRD, Nashville, TN                                                 (in-the-round with Gretchen Peters, Craig Caruthers, and Don Henry)


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 - ALTABANOFF - Berlin Freidenau, Germany  (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)

NOVEMBER 20 - PRIVATE HOUSE CONCERT - Werl, Germany (double-bill with Paul Tiernan)














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