paul rodgers, brandon flowers, ben harper, travis, bernard fanning, neil diamond, matchbox 20
Solo artist - John Harley Weston. Other players/producer used on recordings - Sandy Jones
ben harper, bernard fanning, paul rodgers
‘Music Man’ (Dec 2016) is the 3rd independent album from award-winning Australian based Scottish songwriter John Harley Weston. The first radio single is ‘Byron Bay Blues’. Single and album available now from online music download retailers including iTunes, Google Music, Amazon, CDbaby etc. Streamable on Spotify and Rhapsody
Guitar-based rock with rootsy, soulful, heartfelt vocals, memorable songs and thought provoking lyrics. A quality mix, conjuring Paul Rodgers’ soul, the pop sensibilities of Matchbox 20, Brandon Flowers and Daryl Hall, Bruce Springsteen’s honesty, Ben Harper and Bernard Fanning’s social conscience and subtle edges of vintage Neil Diamond.
‘Music Man' sees Weston collaborating again with award winning engineer/producer Sandy Jones of Foundry Music Lab, Scotland, who's creative arrangements help make a strong, memorable, cohesive album. Living on opposite sides of the world audio files were sent across oceans until John was able to get to the studio to finish off tracks during the northern hemisphere summer. The material shows an artist maturing lyrically & musically, from socially aware themes of equality, to matters of love & loss, to alcohol infused tales & on to darker voids.
TRACK BY TRACK
Beginning with upbeat Motown tinged 'Telling Me Lies’, a relatable alcohol infused tale of love and loss at the local pub, Weston cleverly slots in some language akin to his Glasgow roots. Libations continue and tempo ups on ‘Go Hard Or Go Home’, as we delve further in to the bottle, mixing a Stealer’s Wheel/T-Rex influence to relate a personal struggle with one’s alter ego who loves the booze too much, tequila in particular. On ‘When Tomorrow Comes’ we soar above love’s battlefield as Weston fires out soulful falsetto vocals flanked by Travis style jangly guitars. Paul Rodger’s influence is evident on ‘Better Luck’, an observant tale of a young woman living on the streets of Glasgow, inspired after the songwriter watched Ross Kemp’s television expose, Extreme World. We get up close and personal on the slow burn sad yet enduring, ‘Music Man’, a vividly honest report of the songwriter’s journey through life.
Then we set sail on the ‘River Of Hope’, about boat refugees, invoking a deep south stomp with wailing slide guitar, ala Dylan or Waits. Social awareness broadens with the Hall and Oates/John Meyer flavoured, 'Why Should I Care’, a self-deprecating guilt trip fuelled by not being able to do enough to help the less fortunate despite or because of media saturation. The tone lightens as we shift to reggae-feel road song, ‘Byron Bay Blues’, traveling vicariously in Weston’s old Nissan Bluebird to a colourful music festival, sifting shades of Matchbox 20 and Santana. On the haunting epic finale, ‘Ghost Of Modern Times’, discordant strings drift over ethereal vocals, reminiscent of 60’s avant-garde songwriter Scott Walker’s, ‘It’s Raining Today’, taking us through Weston’s fear and insomnia to a Led Zeppelin-esque crescendo of gnashing guitars and drums.
Weston was lead singer/co-writer with Scottish band Frontier, signed to UK label Phonogram in the 90’s, produced by legendary Steeley Dan producer, Gary Katz, amongst others. Shortly after moving from Scotland to Australia in 1997 he released a single, 'Road To Victory' (1999), via Festival Records, for Brisbane Lions Aussie rules football team. He won the Australian National Songwriting Contest (2005 rock category) with ‘Last Days Of Summer’ off his first independent album ‘Hope Harbour’ (2004) and received accolades from Unisong & Billboard Songwriting Contests for songs from the same album and his 2nd album ‘Welcome Back To Reality’ (2008). He was voted one of the top vocalists in the world at Singer Universe by heavyweight music publisher Dale Kawashima and held the #1 spot for entire 6 months on Australian Indie Radio Charts with ‘Brothers And Sisters’. His music was featured on Channel 9's 'The Voice' (2012) and added to Channel 7’s Beijiing Olympics playlist (2008).