Diverse Chicagoland musician playing various styles-blues2bluegrass-folky2funky. His These Streets Are Holy project has over 150,000 Facebook Likes & has become a violence prevention nonprofit. A published playwright, having written the book/score for One Night in Bethlehem. 3-1st round ballot considerations for the 59th/61st Grammy Awards-Theatrical Musical Album, Contemporary Christian Song & Gospel Performance/Song.
Career started after his wife's cancer death in 2000 when he felt called to musically address grief in his 1st album, which shipped 9/11/01. 4 albums followed & 4 of his songs were written for & used in 4 different movies by indie filmmaker Robert Alaniz. Long time Pres of the 3000+ member Chicago Songwriters Collective & voting Grammy member. Founding & ongoing member of the Palos Community Church Praise Band. His songs have been performed in churches and prisons & covered by others. A accomplished piper for over 30 years in 100s of parades/performances & solo piping.
Working with some folks to write, produce and record a gospel album for late summer release. Out of the Whirlwind is made up of veteran southside Chicago musicians who love to tell the gospel story in song.
the J.L. Condensed Bio
From his youthful days of getting a guitar to hopefully impress girls to deciding to take up bagpipes after hearing a pipe band play Amazing Grace in church, John has amassed a very complete musical resume.
He wrote the song These Streets Are Holy which turned into a project that has reached over 150,000 Facebook Likes to date and has gone beyond music to be a violence prevention nonprofit that reaches into urban communities through music, mentoring and urban gardening.
As of 2016, John became a published playwright, having written both the book and score for One Night in Bethlehem (ONiB). Published by Eldridge, the play has been performed several times to date.
John's "serious' musical efforts trace back to the mid '90's when he began earnestly writing songs - a time in life that coincided with his wife's diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Following her death in 2000 he launched his www.songsbyjohn.com website and began performing more. He felt called to address the topic of grief in his first album, "Grief, Loss & Hope for Tomorrow," which shipped on 9/11/01.
The ensuing years have seen four more albums that cover one of John's hallmarks - musical diversity in styles ranging from bluegrass, folk, country, Irish, bagpipes, rock, polka, gospel and even zydeco. Four of his songs off these albums were written for and used in four different movies by independent filmmaker Robert Alaniz. Beholden to no absolute genre, he considers each song to have its own unique story to tell in its own way.
As a piper, he has been in over 500 parades in 35+ years, playing with pipe bands throughout the Midwest, along with ongoing solo work at funerals, weddings, parties, and all pipe-able events imaginable.
For over a decade he has shepherded the 3000+ member Chicago Songwriters Collective which is recognized by meetup as one of its "supergroups". A Grammy member since the early 2000's he enjoys voting in a number of categories as you might imagine. A founding member of the Palos Park Community Church Praise Band in 2006, he continues to play guitar and bass regularly for services.
Special moments were being on the first round ballot for the 59th and 61st Grammy Awards in three categories:.
Category - Best Theatrical Musical Album: One Night in Bethlehem
Category - Best Contemporary Christian Song: I'll Give My All from album One Night in Bethlehem
Category - Best Gospel Performance/Song: These Streets Are Holy
Although John is more than capable of finding the humor in life, his music is ultimately a tool to help people connect to God.
John plays out solo or in various band situations. He has an easy rapport with audiences and has played in a variety of places, some expected, some not. These include coffeehouses, numerous appearances at the Fox Valley Folk Festival, and acoustic performances on a prairie for a conservation group. He has a particular love of playing for nursing homes and bringing some joy to the folks there. His songs have been performed in churches and recorded by others (Demon of Doubt by Donna Adler, These Streets Are Holy by Anita Lewis and Footprints in the Sand by Rose Marie). Special moments were playing for Katrina evacuees and at Maximum Security Section of a Cook County Jail (some Johnny Cash karma on that one!) and . For over 30 years he's played bagpipes with Shrine bands in hundreds of parades and performances, along with solo piping at weddings, funerals, St. Pat's and every other situation imaginable.