Rising Stars [Issue
The John Butler Trio:
Soulful Terrain By
Sunrise Over Sea
With the recent
surge of several popular Australian artists including: Jet, Keith Urban, The
Vines, and Kasey Chambers, it appears Down Under is on top of the music landscape.
Perhaps this year’s “most likely to succeed” candidate
could be an incredible new talent named John Butler, a singer-songwriter who
fuses intriguing guitar arrangements with captivating lyrical content. The John
Butler Trio’s latest release, Sunrise Over Sea, is a majestic portrait
of a profound artist delivering messages with passion.
The dreadlocked musician who leads the group draws from a surprisingly diverse
range of style. Recalling his varied influences, Butler lists, “Everything
from U2, The Smiths, Bob Marley, Jane’s Addiction, Soundgarden. Then I
got into The Beastie Boys, Gillian Welch, country music, heaps of stuff . .
. I love soul music. Anything that comes from the soul that is really heartfelt,
I’m usually really into it.
After listening to a few tracks from his new CD, one immediately connects with
Butler’s soul pouring through each groove, inflection, and word. His hypnotic
slide guitar playing creates an otherworldly atmosphere with the bass and drums.
Explaining his interest in slide guitar, the musician remembers, “My grandfather
played slide and I never really intended on learning it. I saw [Australian guitarist]
Jeff Lang play and it just made perfect sense to give it all a go. It kind of
happened very easily from that point on.
However, Butler's playing is not solely based in Southern Blues tradition. There
exists an ethereal pathos to the sound, which seems the perfect aural backdrop
for his meaningful lyrics. One of the album’s highlights is “Zebra,”
which speaks out against conformity and society’s limitations. Butler reveals,
“I think a lot of people wanted to pigeonhole me into being a protest singer
and I was blowing all the preconceptions out of the water and just wanted to
say that I can be a lot of things.”
To Butler, the album’s title means, “A brand new start, a new beginning. I took six
months off and me and my wife had a child and I started a new band and this
is really the first offering from that big break.” Soon, the group will
be making a large splash in America. Earning a coveted spot opening for The
Black Crowes’ reunion show at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom and
an appearance on David Letterman scheduled for May 29, The John Butler Trio
may soon have a new beginning as international stars.
Sunrise Over Sea