Material: John M. is a modern Stephen Stills- meets-Gordon Lightfoot-meets-Sweetwater singer-songwriter doing mostly original tunes (with the exception of one or two covers and a buccaneer/bandit look that makes him appear like he just got off an island with Johnny Depp). Although his appearance gives off a '60s vibe his music has a very contemporary feel and sound.
Musicianship: John M. is a solo (at least this night he was) singer-songwriter with his roots firmly planted in the '60s and '70s. He’s taken that and stepped it up a notch to include more modern musical techniques, mixing well placed licks and chords in between delicious melodies that scream Stephen Stills at Woodstock playing modern pirate music in 2017. Although John does nothing spectacular, vocally speaking, he gets his point across through the stories the music expresses. His songs are well-crafted stories that enable everyday people to get through to the demons that keep them from living life to the fullest; inspirational songs of love, hope and childhood.
Performance: The Coffee Gallery is a nice little venue with great acoustics and even better lighting. Not your typical singer-songwriter venue. The lighting guy was on it as every color in the rainbow shined on John while he wailed away on a 10-song set list. Experienced and confident, the artist did what he had to do as a singer- songwriter, keeping the crowd in it as much as he could, all the while switching up guitars and tuning them up.
Summary: John M. grew up listening to the big boys of rock & roll, like Led Zeppelin, the Who, Cream and Jefferson Airplane. His more notable tunes, like “The Dream” and “The Mother In Me,” take you way back to a simpler time when it was about the music, when songs told meaningful stories in a very contemporary, fashionable way. His vocals are straight-forward, nothing to write home about, but his stories are compelling. John M. is an acoustic staple right out of the Sweetwater stable. Well crafted music with well crafted stories make for excellent storytelling.
The Player: John M.
Photo by Janet James
Venue: Coffee Gallery Backstage
City: Altadena, CA