John Permenter and Band (USA)
John’s love of country music comes from his father, who grew up in deep East Texas. He used to listen to Hank Williams, live on the radio, from the ”Louisiana Hayride.” His childhood was filled with the sounds of my father’s favourite artists: Hank, Marty Robbins, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Roger Miller, Glen Campbell, and others. He fell in love with the fiddle in 1973 when he heard Johnny Gimble playing on a Bob Wills record and began fiddling right away. It took years to find the courage to try music as a career. In 1977, after hearing Johnny Paycheck sing “Take this Job and Shove it,” John quit his construction job and began singing and fiddling for a living, and has have been doing that ever since.
Even though he studied music formally in college, his real musical education took place in dance halls and honky-tonks all across Texas, especially around Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. For several years travelling with Johnny Bush (author of Whiskey River”) as his “front man. Later, working as a featured singer at Gilley’s nightclub in Pasadena, Texas.
At Gilley´s, meeting European country fans for the first time. They seemed much more knowledgeable and appreciative of the music than most American fans.He decided that someday he would travel to Europe and play for these people again.
During the mid-eighties, John began working in Houston recording studios. That’s where he met Clint Black, who hired him to play on his first album. Then joined his band in 1987, and toured with him for two years. Next, working for Moe Bandy, who was building a theatre in Branson, Missouri. Settling there for most of the nineties, working both as a sideman and a featured performer for Moe, Johnny Lee, Barbara Fairchild, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, The Branson Gospel Hour, and The Legend’s Show (with Jean Shepherd, Jack Green, Stonewall Jackson, Del Reeves, and others).
Finally braking out as a recording artist in 1995. Liz Anderson (author of several of Merle Haggard’s hits, including “The Lonesome Fugitive”) gave him a song, “Everybody’s Gotta Run Their Own Railroad,” which became the title cut of Johns first album.
Two years later, recording his second album, “Wayfaring Stranger.” Like the first record, it featured a lot of his friends who worked in Branson – guys who played for such artists as Moe Bandy, Loretta Lyn, Dolly Parton, Bill Monroe, the Osmonds, Andy Williams, and lots of others.
During the past ten years, his dream of performing in overseas has come true. With the help of some very kind people. He began playing in England, then Ireland and Scotland. This grew into longer tours and bigger venues, theatres, and festivals. In 1999, John joined a theatre show in the Netherlands, and from there branched into Germany and Scandinavia. In 2001, he made his first trip to Brazil, which has a thriving country music scene. Most recently, playing in France with the Jackson Mackay Band. Jackson will be distributing the albums there, and it looks like good things are in store. Continuing to tour in the U.K. with the fine trio Little Rock; we played the biggest festivals including Americana, Ayr, Witton Castle, Calne, Flights, Lichfield, Wolverhampton, Kent, and Bridlington.
“Roots: The Songs My Father Loved” was recorded in Austin in 2001. This was a very special project; which sometimes felt his dad was right there with him in the studio. Some of the finest musicians in Austin helped out, including Red Volkeart on guitar (toured with Merle Haggard and Red Steagall) and Earl Poole Ball on piano (produced Johnny Cash for years). Recorded in the old way – just musicians in a room playing live, with virtually no overdubbing or remixing. The old songs came to life in those two days – songs like Lost Highway by Hank Williams, Shotgun Boogie by Tennessee Ernie, Whisperin’ Pines by Johnny Horton.
Johns most recent album was recorded live in Holland with his Dutch band, Desperado. Having toured together for years, it was a simple matter to pick fifteen of their most popular songs and record them in front of an audience. The result was better than he dared hope. In many ways, it’s his best album; you can really hear the excitement of a live gig. The band was cooking and the crowd was into it. Even the imperfections in the performance somehow seemed to add to the special quality of the record.
He lived in England for several years with his wife Sarah. Finished his university degree (BA in Humanities), and did some teaching between gigs. John moved over Ireland and became part of the Mike Denver band. Recently returning to England perusing his solo career and with the UK John Permenter Band