Friday, September 19, 2014

First/Last-John Velghe & The Prodigal Sons

"Over the course of his 15 year career, John Velghe has established himself as a particularly conscientious and talented tender of the rock and roll flame. The Independence, Missouri born musician/songwriter has played with several noteworthy bands, but it is his latest work, with the Prodigal Sons, which has given him a big enough vehicle for his ambitious vocal reach and vista-vision poetry. John Lennon and Chuck Berry lie at that core, but the guitars, horns and supportive backing vocals in this band allow Velghe to seamlessly blend other pieces of the greater rock story—from Sun to Stax to 2 Tone and Twin Tone. Organ Donor Blues is the perfect album for such a big sound. It’s both a record for rock’s true believers and a bare-knuckled face off with reality."

John Velghe is an 'alt-country' songwriter from Kansas City, Missouri who's latest album is entitled "Organ Donor Blues" which features Alejandro Escoveda on the title track. The tour which brings him to Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon at the funky Leaf and Bean in the Strip is a motorcycle only trek to raise awareness for Organ Donation.

The first album you ever bought?
The first record I bought was a 45 of ‘Maybelline’ by Chuck Berry. But the first LP I bought with my own money was Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America” on an account of a crush I had in grade school.

Your last album bought?
“Midnight Souvenirs” by Peter Wolf. I was a little late to this party, it came out in 2014. It’s a great record.

Favorite album of all time?
It’s a tie between the two albums I find myself coming back to all the time: Big Star’s “#1 Record“ or Alejandro Escovedo’s “A Man Under the Influence”.  I think Chris Stamey brings out the best in Alejandro, and Jim Dickinson brought out the best in everyone.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I have thousands of albums, and I’ve bought a few clams. But only one has the distinction of being returned to the label. I actually mailed a Dashboard Confessional album back to Vagrant Records. I told them I didn’t want a refund, that I openly acknowledged the mistake I made in buying it, if only they’d admit the mistake they made in releasing it.

First concert attended?
I think it was The Kinks at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS for their “The Road” tour.

Last concert?
The last proper Concert (with a capital “C”) I saw (as opposed to a show in a club) was Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS. Sharon and the band just put bands a third their age to shame. Next week I’ll see the Replacements in Minneapolis at the Midway Stadium.

Favorite concert ever?
Probably that Sharon Jones concert; the joy and vitality and absence of pretense, how much she genuinely cares for her audience, it was all life affirming and reminded me that the audience is why you perform music. Leave your pretentiousness in the van/bus.

Least favorite concert?
Any concert where the performer is doing it for themselves and not the audience is a letdown. Luckily we live in a time where that reputation will precede you, so when I get wind of those I just don’t go to the show.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I love Western Pennsylvania. In previous tours I’ve not had a chance to stop in Pittsburgh so I’m looking forward to it. Tom Breiding, who’s gracious enough to host me, is doing some great things with the United Mine Workers union and helping restore healthcare to their retired members. I just think it’s important for musicians to engage in their community beyond selling them records and playing shows, so from that perspective, my impression of the music community there is a good one.

Thanks, John. I really dig the venue you are playing at. I also dig the concept of the tour you are on as well.

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