Psychedelic Folk Rock Singer Songwriter
Wise John: A Wonderful World
(Independent / 13 June 2021)
Theatrical pop with a jazz singer's sensibilities and clean musicianship - that's the appeal of the inaugural release by singer/songwriter/musician/composer Wise John.
As a vocalist, Wise John is a jazz singer with a nice sense of phrasing and expression - ornamentation with restraint - and the expression is in the simplicity. The tracks aren't jazz from a purist's perspective, but contain inventive hooks and musicianship. He often combines a raw feel and a polished, even musical theatre-ish approach in the same song.
Let Me Dance has a retro jazz feel, with a campy delivery that underscores his sense of humour over a golden guitar line.
Leaving LA has a shade of Beatles and Elton John to the music. Lyrically, he has an idiosyncratic and poetic voice, with a sweeping and quirky vision that sees him writing about personal freedom, iconic celebrity - even The Fall of Rome.
Borderline is a standout track, a song that builds layers of melody and texture around a lilting melody. Wonderful World is a classic piano centric song.
Currently based out of Brooklyn, Wise John explains the impetus behind the album in a release.
I wrote most of A Wonderful World while I was living in Orange County, CA, during the summer of 2020. In addition to the gloomy state of the mid-pandemic world, I'd been facing my own personal apocalypse--I'd become bedridden for months with a flare-up of chronic illness at the end of 2019, knocked out my front teeth, been dumped by my partner, and moved home with my parents in general disrepair. My life's plans had fallen through, and I was facing a total lack of direction and purpose. Stoked!
This album is my sometimes-fiery, sometimes-sweet response to the state of the world and my life at the time. Ultimately, the album's core is this question: How does it feel to see the end-times coming, while everyone around you ignores it?
Won't Somebody Let This Caged Bird Fly?; Leaving LA; Always Be the King; Let Me Dance; Wonderful World; The Fall of Rome; Pretending to Sleep; Last Night; Me & My Piano; Borderline
Wise John: piano, keyboard, lead vocals, human choir; Alex Strahle: Guitars, Bass, background vocals; Shaun Valentine: Drums, percussion; Noah Sierota: Bass; Justin Nichols: Additional bass; Dani Silva: Background vocals; Adela Pfaff: Background vocals; Tom Strahle: lead guitar solo; Micaela Ines: rhodes