Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dutch "Alt Country Forum" Review - Translated

Ghost Towns received a nice write-up from Dutch blog AltCountryForum, and you can read the entire piece (if you can read Dutch, that is) right here. If you are like me, and don't know that fine language, you are in luck, because my Belgian friend Shanna translated it for me:

"After a couple of successful solo albums, which were released between 2006 and 2008, with heartbreaking songs in the acoustic modern folk genre, the American singer songwriter John Statz approached a couple of musicians to accompany him on his new album. Inspired by run down, war-damaged cities in the Balkans and dying, disintegrating American cities is “Ghost Towns”, the brand new album of John Statz. It is the result of years of intensive touring through the US, Canada and Europe. The album consists of a collection of beautiful songs, regularly completed with the wonderful harmonic vocals of his supporting band. They also make excellent use of electric en acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin, bass and violin.

Fans of Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Drive-by Truckers will appreciate the strumming roots rock and typical alternative country and folksongs. Beautiful, lingering music which never feels affected. On “Ghost Towns” John combines raw, exciting songs which drown in electric guitars (Best Girl and Ghost Towns), the sparkling west coast sound (Jackson Hole and Come Down), with songs which are only accompanied by acoustic guitar (Julija and Night Train to Sarajevo). “Ghost Towns” is an album which stands out because of the strong songs, musical firework, enjoyable voices and a recognizable sound."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blogisode: "Ghost Towns" (the song, not the album)

Asbury Park, NJ. A veritable "ghost town" of its former self.

track name

written in the late winter/early spring of 2008, this is the oldest song on the album.

written in the late winter/early spring of 2008, this is the oldest song on the album.
Inspired by touring around the United States and seeing dead and decaying towns, killed off much of the time by moving American jobs overseas, such as some mentioned at the beginning of the song: Clevleand, Janesville (WI), Camden, East St. Louis, etc.
Like Cleveland, Janesville, Camden,
or East St. Louis, where they used to make,
the things that we would all use every day.

Now we've shipped it to Korea, China Indonesia,
left like Ghost Towns, of the old west laid to west,
and left decayed.

They say, "lets get with the program,
there's nothing like the globalization"
of our paychecks, bank accounts, and place to stay

Lets give free trade to the masses,
cuz Americans have assets,
like satellite tv's, big cars, iPods, and fancy dress.

Left you drowning in the street,
bills a rope around your neck
and that big ole flatscreen tv,
wont mean a thing to me when you're dead.

We're kept separate by the waters,
cut off from one another, where we used to play,
in fields as kids at night time with the moon.

Now lets get out of the suburbs, these modern sprawling deserts,
and take back all,
the cities, towns and counties we once knew.

Left you drowning in the street,
bills a rope around your neck,
and that big ole flatscreen tv,
wont mean a thing to me when you're dead.
Left you drowning in the street,
well bills a rope around your neck,
and we'll talk about the hard times,
the ones we ain't be leaving yet.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Album Released For Digital Download

I am pleased to announce that the new album, Ghost Towns, is now available for digital download at johnstatz.bandcamp.com for $10, or $1 per individual track. Along with the download, you will receive all artwork, and can read all of the lyrics and track information at the bandcamp site.

The physical album is currently available at the shows I am playing in Alaska right now, and will be available at the CD Release Show in Madison on August 12th and for order online at that time as well.

Also, I'm giving you two great reasons to keep checking this blog in the coming weeks. First of all, I am currently touring Alaska (in Fairbanks at the moment), and will be posting pictures and commentary as I travel along, as I have for past tours. In addition, I am going to try and post a little bit about every song on the new album, giving you some insight into my inspiration and providing the lyrics.

Thank you for your continued support and interest, these are exciting times!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

2nd New Song This Week - "To My Dismay"

Apparently I'm on a roll, two new songs in one week? That is rarity for me.

This is "To My Dismay", which for some reasons seems like a Christmas song to me, but is most certainly a childhood sweetheart song. You know, the kind where the boy annoys the girl because thats how you flirt. Duh.

On my mother's front porch,
In the month of May
You just looked so happy,
To my dismay.
to my dismay.

And the measles came back,
and then they went away,
but you were always laughing,
to my dismay.
to my dismay.

Sitting by the ice,
covering the bay,
you would always break it,
to my dismay.
to my dismay.

Running through the wheat fields,
to the sounds of trains,
You could always get me,
to my dismay.
to my dismay.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Song - "Sneakers"

So there will be a couple of big news posts coming up in the next couple of days, as next week I will have copies of the new album, Ghost Towns, in hand, and will fly up to Fairbanks to begin the Alaska tour. But, before that excitement, I wanted to share some lyrics from a new song I wrote the other day while flipping eggs at the diner. I'm calling it "Sneakers" for now, but we'll see, I haven't exactly been on top of the naming game lately. Enjoy!

Well the farm lights off in the distance flicker,
and you're driving home on the 94.
The band on the stereo, begging you to listen,
but your mind is stuck on the night before.

When the summer's half gone and you've beat it to death,
and the days come and go like the feeling in your chest.
Don't you think about what you almost had,
suitcase and telephones ain't bad.

Mmmmmm, and you're up all night.
Mmmmmm, and you're up all night.

You told me you'd be trouble,
you were right, you were right.
and the devil's in the distance,
in the night, in the night. (x2)

And the drive was short,
'cause you weren't really thinking
'bout the road, its straight,
but your brain is a twisting.

And the red lights have all started looking,
like the landing strip if the plane mistook it.

Mmmmmm, and you're up all night.
Mmmmmm, and you're up all night.

You told me you'd be trouble,
you were right, you were right,
and the devil's in the distance,
in the night, in the night...

Monday, July 5, 2010

One Last Single For Free Download

Just wanted to let you all know that I've put up one more free single for download at my Bandcamp site, an upbeat rootsy number called "Come Down". The album will be available for purchase next week, so this will be the last single released before that time. Enjoy!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Help Press the Album... and Get a Free Signed Copy

I am so very excited when I think about how close the new album, Ghost Towns, is to being released. It is off to mastering this week, yet there is still more to be done. After that it will be printed and pressed, and off to the masses, and you can be a part of it, there is still time!

Recording and releasing an album is an extremely expensive thing for independent artists to do, but we have to to keep the ball rolling and bring new stuff to your ears. I have been working part time cooking breakfast at a diner, substitute teaching, and doing some summer landscaping work to help finance this baby, but I could still use a little help.

Thats why I have included a donation button at the bottom of this post. Anything you can give to help the effort would be beyond appreciated, it would be praised on high. And I'll make it worth your while.

Anyone who donates $12 or more (the cost of the album when it is released and available) will get a free, signed copy mailed to them directly by me personally. I will sign it, seal it up in a nice fluffy mailing envelope, and walk it to the post office, sending all of my love, thanks and gratitude along with it. When you donate, just leave your name and shipping address and I will send your copy as soon as I get them from the press.

Thank you all for your continued support and interest, albums don't get released without you.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2nd Single Released - Free Download

Hey all,

Just wanted to let you know that a 2nd single from the upcoming Ghost Towns album, "Disclaimer", is available for free download exclusively at the St. Louis-based music blog
5 Score Pachyderm. Thanks for your continued support, and I hope you enjoy!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Planning Alaska

In a little over a month, I will be headed back to Alaska for a tour and a wedding, with twice the amount of shows that I played last year. I spent my afternoon today sending out posters to the venues, contacting the Alaskan press, and planning my travel arrangements, which, I must say, are pretty crazy. Now if you've followed this blog in the past, you'll know that I have had some pretty crazy travel connections, especially when training and busing it all over Europe, but I think that this trip will take the cake.

For your amusement, my itinerary:

Wed., July 21st -

Drive four hours from Madison, WI to Minneapolis, MN to fly out from there. Why not just fly from Madison, or closer cities such as Milwaukee or Chicago? Well I was using frequent flyer miles, and for some reason it was way cheaper and affordable totally using miles when flying out of Minneapolis.

That day's flight schedule: Minneapolis -> Detroit -> Anchorage -> Fairbanks

Thurs., July 22nd - performing at the College Coffeehouse in Fairbanks
Fri., July 23rd - playing a House Concert in Fairbanks

Sat., July 24th -
catching the 8am train from Fairbanks to Denali Nat'l Park, where I am opening a show that night at the Denali Salmon Bake, an Alaskan institution. Here I am also meeting up with some friends who I will travel back to Anchorage with.

Sun., July 25th - driving down to Eagle River (outside of Anchorage) for a 3pm matinee show at the Alaska Fine Arts Academy, and then down to Girdwood (south of Anchorage) for an evening show at the Silvertip Bar & Grill.

Monday-Wednesday morning - hanging out in and around Anchorage with my friends

Wed., July 28th - flying down to Juneau from Anchorage (Ted Stevens Int'l Airport), meeting my friend Chris for a drink, and then catching a midnight ferry to Haines...

Thurs., July 29th - hopping off the ferry bright and early in Haines, hopefully crashing for a couple of hours, and then performing at the Southeast Alaska State Fair at 2pm. After enjoying the fair for a few hours, I have to hope another high-speed ferry around 7pm to Skagway, where I am performing that night at the Skagway Brewing Co.

*As a sidenote, the State Fair folks said that there might be room on the VIP plane which is flying festival headliners from Juneau to Haines. I am greatly hoping for this option, as it will not mean a sleepless night on the ferry.

Fri., July 30th - getting back on an early morning ferry to Juneau for...

Friday and Saturday - Wedding Festivities!!!

My good friend from high school, Chris, is marrying a lovely gal from Juneau, and I am one of the groomsmen in the wedding. So once I step off the ferry, Friday will be spent doing the rehearsal dinner and such, and then Saturday will be the wedding. I'm really looking forward to what I am positive will be a beautiful wedding and night to remember.

Sun., August 1st - hanging out in Juneau, and then playing that night in town at the Alaskan Hotel, the last show of my Alaskan tour.

Mon., August 2nd - a 6am flight home... Juneau -> Seattle -> Minneapolis, and then a 4 hour drive home.

So lets recap on the modes of transportation on this trip:

Car -> Plane -> Train -> Care -> Plane -> Ferry -> Plane -> Car

Crazy, awesome, fun-ness. I will sleep for a week afterwards, but it will be well worth it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

5 Score Pachyderm - Mixtape

5 Score Pachyderm, a blog from St. Louis, decided to include my song "Letter From Southeast Asia" on their latest mixtape, along with the Bowerbirds, Damien Jurado, Dear Vincent, and more, check it out for some neat free downloads!


Thanks, 5 Score Pachyderm!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Alaska Tour '10 - Dates Posted

picture from last year's Alaska Tour, May 2009

Dates have been officially posted to www.johnstatz.com and www.reverbnation.com/johns
tatz for the summer Alaska tour, but for your convenience, I'll post them here as well:

July 22nd - College Coffeehouse, Fairbanks, AK @ 8pm ($5)

July 23rd - House Concert, Fairbanks, AK

July 24th - Denali Salmon Bake, Denali Nat'l Park, AK @ 9pm ($5) *opening for The Cooks + Salmon Bake's 26th Anniversary Party*

July 25th - Alaska Fine Arts Academy, Eagle River, AK @ 3pm ($10)

July 29th - Southeast Alaska State Fair, Haines, AK @ TBA

August 1st - Alaskan Hotel & Bar, Juneau, AK @ 9pm

In between those tour dates, I'll be vising my good buddy Matthew in Anchorage and standing up in a wedding in Juneau for an old friend. This tour will involve some crazy combinations of transportation, including planes, cars, and even a ferry or two. Can't wait!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Topical: Staircases

Today's topical picture post might seem boring at first: staircases.

Lets bust that myth right away...

This picture is from Prague, and obviously depicts a crazy-ass snowboarder trying to kill himself. There wasn't even any snow, either (aside from a small pile at the bottom). Crazy and cool.

Now that that is out of the way, lets move on to some more graceful staircases...

Graceful? I guess not so much, but this winding set of stairs takes you inside the dome of St. Peter's Cathedral in Vatican City, leading to breathtaking 360 degree views at the top of Rome. It gets pretty narrow towards the summit, and you have to duck a lot.

If you guessed that these regal stairs could only belong in a government building, you guessed correctly. But which government? Why these belong to the Swedish Embassy building in Prague, my favorite spot to couchsurf!

These steps led to my hostel in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina when I visited last year. Some girls that were also staying decided to set up a cool picture by dropping these streamers down the stairwell. I decided to mooch and take my own picture.

Taken during my first tour ever, and my first time in Philadelphia to boot back in 2006, this is a staircase within Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed back in 1776. I toured the building a year later with my dad, and they did not take us upstairs that time. A pity, this is one classy staircase.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Single From the New Album Available - Download for FREE!

I am pleased to announce the release of "Everything To Me", the first single from the upcoming album, Ghost Towns.

Visit johnstatz.bandcamp.com/ to download your copy. Pay whatever you want, or nothing at all if you want.

All tracking has been completed on the album, and we are no in the final mixing stage. Officially, Ghost Towns will be released on August 12th, 2010, but unofficially, copies will be available at shows well before that.

I hope you enjoy "Everything To Me", a free preview from the new album!


Tracking/Mixing Engineer: Jeremiah Nelson

written by John Statz

Vocals/Acoustic Guitar/Banjo: John Statz
Vocals: Whitney Mann
Electric Guitar: Jeremiah Nelson
Electric Guitar: Ben Johnson
Upright Bass: Matt Donoghue
Drums: Adam Cargin

More news soon,


Monday, April 26, 2010

Food Pictures - I'm Hungry.

So its time to tweak the format of this blog a little bit. It has been, for the most part, a travel blog, dedicated to pictures from the road while I've been touring the United States and Europe. It will stay that way when I'm on tour, but I have had a hard time focusing it on anything in between tours, and generally the blog just sits unused between trips. I have, however, really enjoyed posting small groups of photos with descriptions during my travels, so I was thinking of keeping that format going and just changing the topic. Rather than, "this is where I've been traveling and here are pictures of it", I would like to pick random topics and display various pictures that conform. Perhaps this presentation will lively this blog up a bit, and at the least, hold my own attention between tours. I will try to keep up some photo-less posts as well when I feel inspired to actually write about something.

I decided on the topic for the first new post while hungry, so naturally it produced itself:


While on tour last August with fellow songwriter Jeremiah Nelson, we stopped into a little town outside of Portland, Maine for some fresher than fresh lobster. The town was called South Freeport, and the restaurant was the Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster Company. Situated right on the docks, lobster trappers (is that what you would call them?) bring the crustaceans right off their boats and up to the restaurant, and all for a reasonable price. The lobsters also came with some steamers (clams) and a cob of corn. You really can't beat that.

In October of 2008 I played my first show in Pittsburgh, PA, at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, which specializes in Polish food. Three months later I would be departing on my first trip to eastern Europe, starting in Poland, so this was a nice introduction to the food. On the plate you can see some potato pancakes, pierogies, kielbasa sausage, and some buttered noodles. Polish food is dee-lish, and I discovered after actually eating it in Poland that the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern (which also calls itself "Pittsburgh's #1 Polish Party House") was pretty darn accurate.

While walking down Petrin Hill in Prague, I treated myself to a lunch at a fancy restaurant partway down, Nebozizek, which wasn't really that expensive due to the dollar's strength i the Czech Republic. This meal features rabbit wrapped in bacon, alongside some gnocci and cherry tomatoes. Anything wrapped in bacon is bound to be pretty damned good, but I have to say that rabbit might take the cake as the best "bacon-stuffing". Amazing.

The empty beverage container with the dirty-looking word is "Cockta", Slovenia's communist answer to Coca-Cola. When Slovenia was a part of former Yugoslavia, the government did not import western products such as Coca-Cola, so this was their own version of the drink. I have to say that its not really a good substitute, as it doesn't taste much like Coke or Pepsi, it has a weird lemony flavor, but its pretty good when you think of it on its own and don't compare it. If you find yourself in Slovenia, have yourself a Cockta! (Pronounced "Coke-Ta")

Oh yea, and those tomatoes at the top? I took that picture in my very own garden, back in the summer of 2007. I decided to start the food post off with it, as I am starting a garden again this summer for the first time in a few years. My roommate and I are already harvesting kale and onion tops from it, yum!

Anyways, hope this new format keeps me on track a bit better, more photos and commentary soon!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Paris: Fin

Final pictures from Paris...

The Louvre. I did not go inside, as I basically only had one day to explore Paris. I just walked all over and tried to see as much as I possibly could.

Arc de Triomphe

Eiffel Tower... yea, the thing that got destroyed in G.I. Joe

Me up on the tower. We weren't allowed to walk all the way up that day, but this is mid-way.

This concludes all of my European travel photos. And now, for something completely different...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Paris: Deux

More from Paris...

The Montmartre at night.

The infamous Moulin Rouge, pretty gawdy.

Paris's Pantheon.

Notre Dame

Centre Pompidou, I believe?

Yet more pics on the way...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Last Two Days In Europe: Paris

The last show had been played, and the trip finally had to come to an end.  I had two last days to spend in Europe and go out with a bang, and so I left Bordeaux for Paris.  I had never been to Paris before, and had truthfully sort of avoided it on previous trips to Europe.  It always seemed over-hyped and not as interesting as destinations further east.  I was about to realize how wrong I was.  Paris really is amazing, and I hope I can go back again soon for longer than two nights.

What should have been a 3-hour train ride from Bordeaux to Paris turned into a 5-hour train ride due to weird weather conditions.  A cold fog had blown in overnight and turned everything to ice, including the powerlines above the tracks that the trains run on.  It was frustrating, as I was supposed to meet my friend Jess from Kansas City to do some sightseeing.

While the train stop did provide an interesting opportunity to walk along the tracks and take some photos, it was unfortunate that by the time I got to Paris, Jess only had time to help me find my hostel and then had to catch her train out of town.  Kind of unbelievable that the French just didn't know how to deal with this sort of weather.

On the way to the hostel, we stumbled into this "marching band", waving Haitian flags and generally making lots of noise to support the country, which had at this point been struck very recently by the earthquake.

My first bit of sightseeing that evening after checking into the hostel, which was located in the Montmartre part of town, was to hike up the hill and see the Sacre-Coeur.  What a beautiful cathedral, with an amazing view of Paris at dusk.  It was at the Sacre-Coeur while looking over the glimmering city that I finally appreciated Paris, and realized how wrong I had been to avoid it for so long.

Sacre-Coeur from the front.

More pictures to come from Paris, I couldn't possibly cover it with just one post!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bordeaux, France

Leaving Belgium, I entered my last country of the trip: France. I only had one show left to play, in Bordeaux, though I spent my last couple of days relaxing in Paris before flying home. I made the trip to Bordeaux because a good friend of mine from Madison had moved there to teach English, and offered to host a house concert at her place. Bordeaux is in southern France, very close to the Atlantic coast, and is famous for wine. Below are some pictures I took while Caitlin showed me around town, as well as a couple I stole from her of the house concert.

Lovely Bordeaux by the river, and it was the nicest day of my trip yet.

A neat wooden bridge over the road.

This space is apparently usually a reflecting pool, filled with water, but being winter and all, it was empty.

House concert.

My hosts for the evening, Caitlin (middle) and Sai (right). On the left is a random drunk Frenchman giving a rock symbol.

The last show of the European Tour was really fun, and a fitting end to a very successful tour. I love playing shows in Europe, and plan to do this once a year as long as I can. I still have one or two more posts to make covering my last two vacation days in Paris before flying home, but this does it for the tour. Here's to EuroTour 2011!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ghent, Belgium

I left Antwerp by train, bound for Ghent, my other gig in Belgium.  I was couchsurfing that night with Viviane, a wonderful lady who also helped me set up the show that evening at a local bar.  After picking me up at the train station, she took me downtown to show me around a little bit.

More of the narrow, old homes of the type seen earlier in Antwerp and Amsterdam.  All of these buildings date back to the 1600's.

Old buildings line one of Ghent's many canals, making this town very charming.

The tiniest, narrowest building I have ever seen.

Viviane told me that Ghent is known as the City of Towers, or something like that, anyways.  Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

The show itself was really fun, and there was a really great showing from the local couchsurfing community.  I can't thank Viviane enough for her hospitality, and for arranging a place for me to perform.  Thanks also to everyone that came out to see me in Belgium, I hope to be back very soon!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time To Finish Up These Europe Posts: Antwerp

Sorry, folks, I've been terrible about finishing up the Europe blog posts.  I've been home for nearly a month now, and need to post pictures and commentary from Belgium and France.  I guess reality hits when you get home from such an amazing trip and there is a gigantic pile of catch-up work waiting for you, and suddenly a blog doesn't seem so important.  Now that I'm feeling a bit more caught up, I'd like to finish the Euro-tour off, starting with Antwerp...

After my two day "vacation" in Amsterdam, I caught a train into Belgium, as I was playing the next two nights in that lovely country.  First off was Antwerp, the former diamond capital of the world, where I was playing a house concert series called "What's Cooking In Jeruzalem?", which usually takes place in Ghent.  The hosts were nice enough to move some things around for me and it was an extremely well-run and attended concert.  A wonderful listening crowd and one of my favorite gigs on the tour.

The next morning my new Belgian friends Attila and Ruben showed me around the city before it was time to move on.  Here are some of the pictures from that excursion...

Antwerp's train station, probably the most interesting and beautiful station I have been in anywhere in Europe.

A champagne bar in a shopping center in downtown Antwerp.  Notice: its shaped like a champagne glass.

A giant hand.  More specifically, a giant's hand.  More specifically, the giant was Antigone, and he was the scourge of Antwerp until someone cut off his hand.

A downtown cathedral and town square.

Really dig these old row houses that you see in Belgium.  Most seem to be from the 17th century, and I saw many more in Ghent.  Coming soon...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tour Break in Amsterdam

After my last gigs in Germany (Hamburg), I had a two-night break before the next gigs in Belgium.  One major city was perfectly situated for a couple nights off, between Hamburg and Antwerp: Amsterdam.

I stayed at a hostel in Amsterdam, my first one in many weeks, and it was located in the Red Light District, with coffeeshops, headshops, and prostitutes galore.  Its actually not that seedy of a Red Light District, though, except for the streets where prostitutes actually sit in windows and make faces at you, that was pretty damn seedy.

A monument to remember the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam during World War II.

One of Amsterdam's many canals, with a tour boat zipping along.  Some call Amsterdam the "Venice of the North".  I call it not nearly as warm, but at least not sinking.

Some cheap rental homes on the canal.

I really enjoyed the charming, seemingly slapped together homes that line the canals.