Announcing a new CD by Composer and songwriter John VanWagoner, "Just for You"
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and percussionist, John VanWagoner grew up playing guitar in the desert area of central-eastern Utah. When being sent to bed as a child, John would lie awake and play acoustic guitar in the dark. Music became the center of his contemplation and expression of thought. Playing drums in bars and clubs at the young age of 12 founded John's initial musical experience.
John started to write "The Girl That Stands Bedside Me" when he was 17 years old. Using the first four lines of an anonymous poem entitled "The Girl I Left Behind Me," John wrote the rest of the lyric. Years later, after meeting the girl in his life, the words were changed to what they represent today.
John's compositions on the CD, "Halfway There", really has motion. It was created one night after a rehearsal with Keele'n'Time, a local country band he was in at the time. John wrote the guitar part and the lyrics. He brought it back to the band where Jeff Keele collaborated on the additional lyrics. The recorded version of the song displays the superb guitar work of Rich Dixon. His eclectic virtuosity adds vibrancy and rich color as hot as Albert Lee's country style guitar lick s. "Rich demonstrates his abilities by creating sharp contrasts with his interpretation of " Halfway There", and the cool and smooth jazz riffs peppered with tasteful wholetone riffs in "Private Addiction."
The title track, "Just For You" describes how John felt at the birth of his daughter when he first held her in the hospital room and then watched her taken away to the nursery, Later in life, it was the friendship of his daughter with her little 8 year old friend, Lydia that led to the connection with the " Make a Wish Foundation." Lydia died tragically from a tumor in her stomach. The cover track," Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was requested by the foundation because of their incredible work in making dreams come true for children such as Lydia, whose lives are all too short. A portion of the proceeds from this recording goes to the "Make a Wish Foundation - Utah."
Steve Camp, a classically trained pianist, has an exquisite ear for blues and jazz. Track 2, "Just For You" colors the piece with sublime atmospheric nuances. In contrast, his brilliant solo work on " Private Addiction" matches the likeness and sound of Jimmy Smith.
But by far people's favorite song is " You Are." Modeled after James Taylor's style, one of John's favorite musicians, it started with the lyrics, thinking to put into words what his special someone meant to him. John created this song from his heart. A former keyboard player of the band, Ambrosia, Keith Gerson sweetens the mix of "You Are" and others. Keith expertise invites soothing melodic interludes and intricate solo work to the entire project.
There is no doubt that John's skillful four-octave voice stirs people's heart when he performs. Folks return to hear him sing again and again. This recording is jam-packed full of talented musicians, tasteful compositions and completely satisfying melodic lines.
"John VanWagoner's silky voice is easy to listen to relaxing and peaceful. His natural talent stands alone. There are no back-up singers, synthesizers and pulsating instruments in the background."
~Casey R. Basden - Park Record 2004~