John Vester: All The Way Out West
On John Vester’s 4th solo release on Venetian Records (2008): All The Way Out West this artist fully comes into his own. This collection continues John’s trademark, poetic picture painting style of songwriting, based on Folk Americana, accentuating the western side of country & western, with a colorful mix of ethnic influences, while moving into new territory lyrically & reaching new heights of musical self-realization.
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio John started writing songs & playing in bands there in his teens. Then he moved to California in his early 20s & attended the Grove School Of Music in LA, while playing in bands & developing his craft as a songwriter…until he was ready to start recording…
His first album, My Heart Is In Your Hands was released in 1998. His 2nd Half A World Away in 2002 & his 3rd Things I Wish I Would Have Said in 2004. Like the previous 2 solo JV releases All The Way Out West was co-produced with Michael Lennon of the band Venice, with excellent vocal support from other Venice member Mark, Kipp & Pat Lennon & vocalist extraordinaire Kate Markowitz.
Also featuring the top-notch musicianship of Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar & dobro, Sid Page on violin & Scott Crago on drums to mention a few…
John says: “I think of many of my songs as cowboy songs, but mainly I think of them as love songs, story songs, uplifting, sad or funny songs….or some combination of all the above.”
He is also an illustrator & the All The Way Out West cd package features his singular style of hand printed lyrics & original illustrations making this a truly unique offering of this artist’s words, music & art.
John’s songs give us ways to look at ourselves both playfully & seriously, with a maturing attention to artistic detail & form that promises All The Way Out West is his best work to date.
John Vester lives all the way out west in Venice, California USA.
All The Way Out West track descriptions:
Track 1 Lucky You tells a tale of what it means to be lukcy, in the words of an odd cast of characters met on the road---hitch-hiking north from Georgia up through Tennessee into Kentucky….& promotes the feeling that maybe you (the listener) ain’t had it so bad after all…punctuated perfectly by the amazing Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar.
Track 2 Put All Your Heart In A Song was inspired by several lines of poetry originally attributed to Mark Twain. The depth & simplicity of the original lyrical germ from Mr. Twain incites the raga like one chord India vibe of the interlude & verses, breaking into an exuberant, slightly psychedelic, thumping Beatle-esque chorus, that invites you to live your life to the fullest. The track begins with the buzzing drone of a tambura, then the band kicks in with a spirited, minimalist combining of east & west, commanded by the scarily great violin of Sid Page.
Track 3 Night Becomes The Day continues the tradition from the previous 2 John Vester releases, of including a song that combines western folk guitar & traditional Japanese instruments, compositionally threading the needle between east & west, thus revealing the underlying similarity between simple Japanese melodies & western cowboy songs.
Track 4 Blue Window is an internet love song that captures the romance of falling in love song distance, through the virtual magic of the computer’s blue window.
Track 5 As Long As It Takes is a rootsy little acoustic prayer of undying resolve to be patient & persistent in love “til’ your heart reveals what is meant to be”
Track 6 The title track All The Way Out West is a surf cowboy anthem, celebrating the artist’s hometown for the last 20 years: Venice, Ca. USA.
Track 7 Beeswax Is My Beeswax grooves along like an old blues classic, & lyrically reveals a new layer of whimsy & wit for this artist.
Track 8 Warm & Tender Lullabye combines warmth & tenderness artfully accented with the heavenly pedal steel harmonics of Greg Leisz in a mellow, soothing track designed to lull even the most agitated listener to dreamland.
Track 9 I Wish I Was Back Home In Cincinnati rolls back the years & uncovers the artist’s earliest midwestern memories in this heartfelt homage to his original hometown “like a Stephen Foster tune played on calliope”
Track 10 Please Don’t Be So Sad is a sincere effort to cheer up the listener with a plaintive minimal track, sadly sweetened by the very spare & sensitive violin of Sid Page.
Track 11 No Bone To Pick With Jesus is a religious tolerance piece, with humor, in the form of a lively gospel bluegrass number that asks: “Please don’t kill me just because I don’t believe what you do, why can’t we let each other believe in what we choose to?”
Track 12 Sometimes Absence Makes The Heart Grow explores an ancient English folk genre in a bleakly sad sounding moral fable (w/underlying tongue in cheek humor lyrically) authenticly augmented by the haunting violin of Sid Page.
Track 13 The Devil’s Playground is a cryin’ in yer beer cowboy song that would sound good blaring from the jukeboxes in the cowboy bars of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, accompanied by the awesome dobro of Greg Leisz.
Track 14 I Don’t Want To Say Good-bye fades in & out with stirring strains of uillean pipes, evoking images of the artist’s Irish American ancestry, ironically ending this collection & saying good-bye though he clearly doesn’t want to.