Another insightful documentary that I came across this year is House Concerts: The Home Invasion Tour, from M-Pire Films. The film, some five years in the making, follows intrepid indie musician John M and his partner Penni Merrick on a two-month road tour of house concerts from New England to California. It’s a no-holds-barred, naked look at the house concert phenomenon in all its facets, both positive and not-so-positive. Some of the more humorous (and at the same time, sobering) scenes include real-life experiences to which all touring musicians can relate: trying to be gracious with an obsessed fan who feels compelled to critique a performance immediately after it ends; dealing with sweltering heat and humidity while performing; trying to find a hotel room in the middle of nowhere at 2 AM; counting CD and video sales (or no CD and video sales; depending on the show); not being able to remember what town or day of the week it is; netting only $12 from several gigs after expenses; and playing a gig in a hair salon while trying to compete with an incessantly ringing doorbell, a screaming child and bad acoustics. The film also presents the house concert phenomenon from the audiences’ and presenters’ perspectives, with lots of interviews with hosts and fans. Also included are musical performances by several artists and discussions about the stories behind the songs. House Concerts: The Home Invasion Tour provides a thorough, thoughtful treatment of the milieu for anyone considering playing at, hosting or attending house concerts.
Performing Songwriter Magazine November 2006
When I hear the music of John M, I know who this artist is without a doubt... Different, unique, not just another singer. This man and his music are dynamite! If you want to see a real performer... John M is "THE MAN".
Don Dashiell, Reid-Land Productions/TNN
Still Here - American Songwriter Magazine
I like the positive images his songs portray, which is something I believe we need to hear in today's music. John weaves a great story with his songs, managing to pull the listener in even though it lasts only a few brief minutes.
Vernell Hackett, freelance entertainment journalist and editorPart Of The Game - Independent Songwriter Web-Magazine
American Songwriter Magazine, Nashville
American Songwriter Magazine, Nashville
One of the great undiscovered talents, John M. forges ahead with undeniable conviction to his music and his mission. With his latest project, "Part Of The Game", he shows the diversity of not only his songwriting abilities but of his technical expertise. Bringing in some of Nashville's creative geniuses such as Danny Parks and Marianne Osiel, John makes this album an auditory feast that leaves you hungry for his next project.. John M. has proven time and time again that he is, indeed, a legend. His songs do more than just give words flight, they are magical sculptures that allow our subconscious to dream and fantasize.
Jan Best, Independent Songwriter Web-MagazineStill Here - American Songwriter Magazine
Most of us can readily identify with this song. Even the title "My Mother In Me" just about says it all. Who hasn't seen their parent in themselves at one time or another, even heard certain phrases come out of their mouth that they swore they'd never say, but all of a sudden, there they are and you're wondering where they came from? ... John says he wrote the song as a way of saying thanks to his mother, but also as a way of keeping her alive. "I wanted to leave something of her, some piece of her that might live beyond her lifetime and mine," he said. He took what he considered to be her best qualities, her best gifts to him and put them in the song. His song is a fitting tribute to all mothers... John wrote the song for his mother late in her life but he was able to play it for her, even though she was quite sick and bedridden. "She was very weak and she listened to the song and then she looked at me and said 'Oh my, I think you exaggerate some'." John remembers his mother's reaction to "My Mother In Me." He assures me he didn't exaggerate at all.
Vernell Hackett - American Songwriter Magazine
Still Here - Independent Songwriter Web-Magazine
The journey starts out with, "You're Still Here", a song about unrequited love. John's voice is powerful, and yet, in the right spots, it can quiver with a tender and unexpected uncertainty. Just one example of what legends are made of. "Somewhere Between" a song inspired by his father's artistic skill, John captures the right mood, the right timing and just enough metaphoric variation to distinguish this song as one created by a master tunesmith. Beauty that flows with the grace of the ocean waters over the sand. "My Mother In Me" contemporary charisma with just a pinch of old-fashioned inspiration. "I Could've Had You" nice. "Not My Way" the fuzz guitar adds the angry undercurrents to this song about the frustration of feeling trapped in the middle of a society where there is so much violence and suspicion. "The Eyes Of A Child" the longing for the simplicity of childhood and the innocent outlook of youth. "White Lines and Highway Signs" up-tempo, good-feeling number that's a lot of fun to sing along. "If It Stays Like This" outrageously contagious. The hook is catchy and hard to get out of your head. "Who's Gonna Say It First" gentle and peaceful. "Different Languages" love being the common denominator between two people regardless of their differences. A touching and very different presentation to a familiar theme. "I Wish I Was In Love" a ballad for lovers and dreamers alike. "That's What Christmas Is To Me" ....."it's not about the colored lights, the mistletoe or snowball fights / it's not about the tinsel on the tree/ It doesn't matter what you spend or how many cards you send, that's not what Christmas is to me"..........the topic may be common but the song isn't and if you want to know what the Christmas season is all about, turn this song up full blast and be transformed.
Short of a blessed miracle from above, John's music is living proof of divine inspiration.
Independent Songwriter Web-Magazine
John M releases "No Overdubs" to the sheer delight of listeners worldwide. John M is the ultimate triple threat! He is one of the finest lyricists out there. He writes from personal experience, live, love, family, a healthy songwriters' imagination and creativity. His music is upbeat and truthful. He can be a hard hitting rock god in one moment, then slide into a gentle soothing ballad with ease the next. John M. does it all on "No Overdubs." You will be transfixed and absorbed in polished lyrics and song construction. John M holds the listener captive from begining to end. "No Overdubs" is recorded live thereby giving us, the listeners, the feeling of being right there with John M. I found myself smiling away whilest singing along and yes... there was at times some air drumming happening on my desk. It is incredible indeed, John M, that you have accomplished an album with this big feel with only an acoustic guitar! Brilliant my friend! A true genius.
John M has honed his skills on guitar to a fine edge and it certainly shows on this live album. His expertise is stunning. The actual song construction and orchestration marries deliciously with John M's rich vocal style. John M has that "thing"... that causes goose pimples up your arms and flutters in your stomach. That is the ultimate sign of perfection for a listener. John M has such charisma, not only because he looks hot but because he can back it up with a strong vocal style and expertise on the guitar.
I found the recording, mixing, mastering and engineering to be exceptional on "No Overdubs." Often when recording live, the background noise can be difficult to deal with. Not so with John M - "No Overdubs." In fact, not only is John M's vocal clear and pure, you feel transported to the live concert, with much better seats. Brilliant!
Now I would like to bring forward 3 tracks from "No Overdubs.":
1.- My Mother In Me
This exceptionally well written song will bring you to your knees. John M shows his versatility on guitar by setting those strings on fire. Such expertise is a joy to behold, truly. Lyrically "My Mother In Me" is perfection. It has it all: a.- A strong hook, b.- a storyline that the whole world can relate to, c.- an upbeat rhythm that draws you in securely, d.- guitar being played with expertise and love. And last but certainly not least, e.- a strong, rich, sexy vocal style that is addicting. LOVE LOVE LOVE this song.
2.- There For You
There For You is one of my all time favorite John M songs. His lyrics are impeccable! His song construction begining with lyrics, superb orchestration and instrumentation, then on to his strong, rich vocals, are magnetizing together. This is an upbeat song with a clear message. John M has swooped in for the kill and left us fanning ourselves with this brilliant song!
3.- Music Rowbots
I love how John begins this song with a dedication, then gets us grooving in no time flat with superb guitar playing. His lyrics are precise and honest. He will have your head boppin', feet tappin' and pulled into the "John M zone" before you can say Mama! John M connects with his audience and listeners with ease but should come with a warning label. "This song will cause eruptions of chair dancing, laughter, singing, smiling and a fair few uh-huh moments." Fabulous vocals married with exceptional guitar pickin'.
This is an album you will put on your "Good shelf." The one that visitors see when they come over. John M is the kind of muso (musician) everyone aspires to be. He has the Midas touch. John M - "No Overdubs" is unequalled. Truly a stand alone album!
Shashona McCall - Indie Showcase www.indieshowcase.net
"It has a really 'Live feel' and it still sounds good! This is what I've always thought a live record should be."
Harold Payne - International award winning songwriter,
recording artist, and music industry mentor.
recording artist, and music industry mentor.
"Brilliant! No Overdubs by John M is a masterpiece. A delightfully refreshing departure from the mainstream production style, it’s recorded live and features songs from two concerts. The songs are touching, fun and thought-provoking. The vocals are purely melodic and mesmerizing. It is music in its purest form. The only instruments are John’s guitar and his voice. It’s wonderful to hear pure music in this age of digital deception. It’s like having a concert in your car or home or wherever the CD is played. “In Jesus’ Name” is a dramatic and poignant song about what people do in the name of Jesus. The music and the words combine to completely captivate the listener with a swampy Rock vibe. “School Bus Blues” is a fun song about a rocker with a one-track mind and a set mission to become famous.. John draws his audience in by incorporating a sing-along audience participation part into the song on the phrase, “Hey Lawdy Lawdy Na Na Na.” “Coulda Had You” is a deeply emotional love song about regrets and lost love.with heartwrenching lyrics and engaging vocals. “My Mother in Me” is a wonderful tribute to his mother. It’s an amazing song featuring Gina Venturini on background vocals. It’s a storyteller song about all things his mother taught him and all the things he inherited in his personality from her and how she instilled values and taught him to love music. This album is a joy and a delight. Five Stars! A video of one of the songs from the album."
Video on YouTube
Independent music journalist
The Bluebird Cafe
"... John M inhabits a song the same way he inhabits a stage; with life, energy and hope"
Neil Fagan, The Bluebird Cafe, NashvilleWCFM - Williamstown, MA
"The radio audience response to the show was extremely enthusiastic. The station received a great number of phone calls wanting to hear and know more of John and his music. We have subsequently re-aired that show and I, for one, am trying to get John to return and do another show"
Paul K. Alexander, D.J. WCFM - Williamstown, MALevitt Pavillion Concerts
"When the heavy rain started, John directed his listeners up on to the protected stage and then continued the concert. Our concert in the rain was the best of the entire summer."
Chris Senie Program Leader - Levitt Pavillion Concerts - Westport, CTUniv. of Bridgeport CT
"TERRIFIC! He makes the songs come alive... a pleasure to work with. He arrives early, stays late and always holds an audience. He has a presence that people will remember!"
Donald Ivanhoff - Program Director
Friday's Coffee House
His infinite passion for music is obvious when he performs and his lyrics, written mostly from personal experience, have the power to reach out and touch the very depths of your innermost feelings.
Friday's Coffee House - Wilton, CT