Bart Vogel
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Bart Vogel

Lodi, California, United States | INDIE

Lodi, California, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Pop


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The best kept secret in music


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All Right - 2010
En Route - Life As We Know It - 2004
Promises - 1980



Bart Vogel writes and plays songs best described as indie-pop Americana, ranging from voice-driven blues to reflective guitar instrumentals. His songs thematically focus on the Divine, family and what it takes to navigate relationships with both. With a warm baritone voice, energetic guitar playing and disarming personality, Bart instantly connects with his audiences.

Bart was born on December 1, 1959, to Howard and Dolly Vogel in Ventura, California. His sister Julie followed shortly, and the family spent the bulk of Bart’s childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was surrounded by music in his early life: his mother played hymns on her Wurlitzer electric organ in the evenings, and, though not a musician himself, his father constantly played his favorites on the record player, among them Roger Whitaker, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Frank Sinatra and Stan Kenton. Bart sang in church and school choirs throughout childhood, which infused him with a foundation of traditional Christian music as well as comfort with the stage.

At 14, Bart heard a John Denver Greatest Hits album and was enthralled. He begged his parents for a guitar. After a few months of trial rentals, they bought him a Lyle Hummingbird copy. He wrote his first song shortly after. In addition to John Denver, the following artists have influenced his music through the years: Keith Knoche, James Taylor, Randy Stonehill, Sting, Steven Curtis Chapman, The Imperials, The Rose City Singers, Dan Fogelberg, Bonny Rait and most recently Greg Brown, Eric Clapton and Tommy Emmanuel.

Bart played and wrote songs with friends through high school and college and toured for a short time with the choral-style contemporary Christian group Harvest Celebration. He made his first solo foray into music with his 1980 album, Promises, produced by Al Pierce with help from Dan Holder. Around the same time, he formed a duo with Barry Butler, who sang and played keyboard. In 1981, Debra Smith (Bart’s soon-to-be wife) joined them with her alto voice, and the three dubbed themselves "Promise." Besides a two-year break during which Bart focused his musical efforts on the band Skyewind (with members Gary Brady, Allan Clarke, Dave Nelund, Lee Rugless and Bernie Osborne), Promise continued until 2004, performing in Northern California churches, coffeehouses and other venues. Soundman Eddie Haffner joined the band in 1985 and songwriter/keyboardist Richard Harty in 1987; both, along with Debra, stayed with the group until its end. In over two decades, Promise changed forms, including at various points guitarists/vocalists Greg Jones and Greg Evans; bassist/vocalist Paul Brinley; drummers Kevin Marlo, Darin Anastasio, and Ryan Payne; and vocalist/percussionist Karey Harty (Richard’s wife). Through these changes, Bart remained the bandleader, writing and collaborating on songs with Richard and Debra while supporting his family as a self-employed real estate appraiser. In September 2004, the band released an album, Life As We Know It, under its new name, En Route.

With Bart and Debra’s separation in 2008 (and subsequent divorce), En Route dissolved, and Bart set out as a solo act, working up some of his old songs and prolifically writing new ones, many growing out of the painful experience of a changing family structure. His new songs are at the same time honest about pain and hopeful, resonating with people across many life experiences. His performances are energized by the new life that rises out of the death of an old way of being. Keith Gaboury (San Francisco Indie Music Examiner) wrote of one concert, "His performance represented a lifetime of constant work . . . . The lyrics were captivating."

Bart currently resides in Lodi, California. When he’s not performing or working on his craft, he enjoys sailing his MacGregor 25; jamming with his grown children Max, Morgan and son-in-law Andy; and spending time with friends. Writing new songs continues to be, for him, "a direct connection to the Creator of creativity."

--Morgan Vogel Chinnock