Jason Vatter
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Jason Vatter

Band Folk Acoustic


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"Allen Czelusniak"

Jason Vatter renders sonic still-lifes on "These Friends of Mine" In an era when pop-culture icons have the shelf-life of a Big Mac and the public's attention span deflates quicker than the value of Enron stock, Jason Vatter offers an alternative. On his latest disc, "These Friends of Mine" (Lokel Yokel), the Weedsport singer-songwriter's musical reflections are crafted to stand the test of time and retain their value. On the strength of his previous album, 1999's "Found," and his frequent appearances at the monthly SongSwap series at Happy Endings Cake and Coffeehouse, Vatter has emerged as one of Central New York's busiest singer-songwriters. For his efforts, Vatter earned a Best New Artist nomination at the 2002 Syracuse Area Music Awards (Sammys).

Where his previous efforts contained noticeable echoes of songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Vatter's artistic voice as a writer comes through more clearly than ever on "These Friends of Mine." His attention to detail provides plenty of grist for the mental mill and folk fans with active imaginations.

Vatter wants listeners to REALLY know the people in his songs. He introduces you to 'Mrs. Henry,' a small-town teacher with a forlorn student, and the warm environs of 'Evelyn's Kitchen.' Characters such as bartender Crazy Jim, chain-smoking Charlie and underage Anna come to life on 'These Friends of Mine,' the disc's closing track. For those who love knowing everything, Vatter's acoustic epics provide it and then some.

The singer doesn't stick to more tried-and-true pop formulas, such as incessantly repeating the chorus or song title until it imbeds itself in a listener's head. Instead, Vatter caresses a listener's consciousness with honest reflections tempered with hope, love and faith. Of the disc's dozen songs, only one clocks in at less than four minutes and 50 seconds.

In contrast to many jam bands who extend songs with long leads and piddling riffs, Vatter simply sings and strums his acoustic guitar, with the harmonica fills on 'Dakota' being the notable exception to the rule.

Co-produced with Folkus Project music coordinator Joe Cleveland, Vatter opts for a remarkably simple mix. It's just him, his guitar, and a couple of microphones captured live to tape. As Vatter admits in the liner notes, if he flubbed a chord, he simply started over. Vatter's "These Friends of Mine" creates meaningful pictures set to meandering melodies and the soft strums of acoustic guitar. It's no rocker, but it's an honest record from an artist beginning to realize his potential.

- Syracuse New Times

"Michael Haight"

Local singer/songwriter Jason Vatter played to a packed room at Happy Endings on November 30th, in celebration of the release of his third CD, These Friends of Mine. In the past year, Jason has raised the bar for himself, both as a songwriter, and as a musician. He has kept himself very busy as a touring musician, and the result of which is his commitment to writing and performing the best possible music for the audiences who take the time hear him.

To showcase the music of the CD, Jason’s set consisted of playing all the songs on the disc in order. As he took the stage, he appeared overcome with the turnout.

While Jason has appeared on multiple artist showcases, and opened up for some of the best folk artists in the country, it appeared that he truly did not expect to see so many people come out to see him play a show alone. A testament to the power of his music, no doubt.

Jason’s strength as a live performer shined in songs like Mrs. Henry, with its tender, yet heartbreaking story of a doomed affair. The song left many in the audience with a lump in their throats.

"Lottery" also went over very well. Jason shared his inspiration for the song in that he wanted to write a song from the point of view of a woman. To make things even more difficult, he decided to make it an elderly woman. As if that weren’t enough, he decided to make the narrator an elderly, black woman. In typical Jason Vatter fashion, he treated the subject matter with complete sincerity. The song, about never giving up hope…or faith, was well received.

The highlights of the second set were the Halloween inspired "Anything But Me", with it’s deceptively upbeat delivery of a boy’s gratefulness at being able to hide his identity for one day of the year. Another well received tune was the title track from the new disc. "These Friends of Mine", struck a chord with many in attendance, as it would with anyone who ever stopped to realize the truly wonderful feeling of being part of circle of friends…regardless of their dysfunctions.

Finishing up the night, Jason played a brand new song called "Snow Day in California". The song gave folks a little insight into the next level for Mr. Vatter. It seems he is ready to raise the bar again.

- CNYMusicandArt.com

"Joe Cleveland"

"Jason's songs enable us to walk a mile in the shoes of others, to see through their eyes, to add their feelings to our own. Jason's warm voice welcomes us as a guest into their lives on such a personal scale that they become friends of ours. Living now together in these songs, Jason Vatter hits us, right in the solar plexus of our quiet everyday lives, with hope."
- Folkus Project


Strong Enough (1996)
Found (1999)
These Friends Of Mine (2001)



Jason Vatter may be an unfamiliar name to some, but were you to ask any Central NY music fan to name the hardest working singer/songwriter at the onset of this decade his is the name that would likely be said. After releasing three independent albums between 1996-2001, being nominated for a Syracuse Area Music Award in 2001, and performing at countless cafes, colleges, bookstores, and clubs, Jason took a much needed break from music to focus on some other aspects of his life. Several life altering experiences during this extended hiatus (the death of his mother, the thrill of finding true love) have influenced Jason to pick up the guitar again and try to make sense of life, love, and loss in the way he once did. Jason is looking forward to getting back out on stages and bringing this new crop of songs to a brand new audience and hopefully reconnecting with old friends along the way. In addition to playing his own shows at cafes, coffeehouses, listening rooms, and bars around New York state, Jason has had the privilege of sharing the stage and opening up for many of the best artists currently on the acoustic circuit. These artists include Bill Morrissey, Cliff Eberhardt, Geoff Muldaur, Sara Lee, Darryl Purpose, Mark Erelli, Kevin So, Erica Wheeler, Sam Shaber, and the Brothers Creeggan. "As a songwriter, Jason Vatter put his boat in the water quite a while ago. But over the course of the past year or more, documented now by this album, we're beginning to realize that it's no mere lake on which Jason is embarked. It's an ocean. These songs feature wonderful melodies set in creative guitar work that uses lots of open tunings for a satisfyingly full-bodied sound, even if it is just one guitar we're listening to. Most of all, though, these songs are stories about people rendered with such telling details -- a tattered old paperback, a stirring wooden spoon, a heavy wedding ring -- that we can't help but know them. We can't help but care about them. Whether or not he's made them up, these people are real and they matter to us. And isn't that the best power of art ­ not only as a way to better understand ourselves, but as a way for us to learn how to care about others. Jason's songs enable us to walk a mile in the shoes of others, to see through their eyes, to add their feelings to our own. Jason's warm voice welcomes us as a guest into their lives on such a personal scale that they become friends of ours. Living now together in these songs, Jason Vatter hits us, right in the solar plexus of our quiet everyday lives, with hope." --Joe Cleveland (Folkus Project), on Jason's last album, These Friends Of Mine.