John Velghe

John Velghe

 Rolla, Missouri, USA

“John Velghe & The Prodigal Sons embodies the urgency of Townes Vanzandt in a package similar to Wilco”— Ethan Skelton of The Equal Ground

"The rock and roll circus canvas was held open by the likes of Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Smokey Robinson and John Lennon...Velghe descends from that line particularly the way Lennon could take all the enormity and raw power of rock and roll...and deliver it in a lullaby." -- Danny Alexander


"An earnest songwriter and frontman," (Mike Snider, USA Today March 2012) 

Over the course of his 18 year career, John Velghe has established himself as a particularly conscientious and talented tender of the Americana Rock flame. The Independence, MO 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. 

Natalie Gallagher, of The Pitch, writes "When people talk about the merits of Americana, a sound that can sometimes feel mail-order anonymous, what they want is the rare thing that Velghe has cultivated: music whose familiarity and honesty pull at your gut instead of just reassuring you."

"The rock and roll circus canvas was held open by the likes of Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Smokey Robinson and John Lennon--the biggest tent artists imaginable. Velghe descends from that line, particularly the way John Lennon could take all the enormity and raw power of the rock and roll that came before him and deliver it in a lullaby. Both that scope of vision and that intimacy, after all, are the elements that most obviously connect Lennon to Velghe's mentor Alejandro Escovedo..." -  Danny Alexander

Born in the midwest, John Velghe (pronounced Vel-jee) writes songs leaning towards personal narratives and accounts of people he’s met over 20 years of playing in bands and touring.

From a four-year-old waitress in Lucas, Kansas to a transvestite railroad worker he met on the banks of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota; Velghe populates his songs with real characters who’ve informed personal allegories about escape, transformation and fear.

Tim Finn, Music Editor of The Kansas City Star says Velghe's latest album, Don't Let Me Stay (Lakeshore Records, Beverly Hills, CA) " a gem of a pop record, rich in melodies and harmonies, embroidered tastefully with strings, guitars, horns, keyboards, the occasional mandolin. It rocks hard and sways gently. It is softly lit in some places, bright and brash in others." (Kansas City Star, March 2012)

In a live performance Velghe and his band, the Prodigal Sons aim to impress. The band -- a full-on seven-piece, complete with horn section, guitars, bass and drums makes the shows move from intimate gatherings to a fervor where 2012 SXSW fans found Velghe closing the showcase from atop the bass drum. One night audiences will find the band performing the Stooges classic “I Wanna Be Your Dog” as a tender-hearted duet with legendary singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo, the next the song is drenched in sweat and blood in all it’s raucous punk bombast.

As an independent musician Velghe has written, performed and toured the country in several bands including The Daybirds, Saint Jude, and famous fm. His songs have been released in North America and Europe. As a composer he has scored feature-length documentaries and short films.

He has produced and recorded projects for artists across all musical genres including singer/songwriter Krystle Warren, The Depth and the Whisper, and hip hop artist Blydell (Lone Rider).


"Organ Donor Blues" - 2014 Lakeshore Records

"Don't Let Me Stay" - 2012 Lakeshore Records
"John Velghe : ep" - 2010
"The Next American Dream" - Documentary Score Composed by John Velghe 2009
"Shot Down" - The Daybirds 2004 (performer, writer, producer, and Recording Engineer)
"The Celebrated Cost of Leaving" - Saint Jude LP 2003
"The Long and Short of Measuring Up" - famous fm 2001
"Blind Spot" featured on Budweiser France compilation 2002

Set List

typical set when we performing with other bands on the bill depends on the needs of the promoter. While we have up to 2 hours of material worked up - we typically perform 40-50 minute sets in clubs. Typically this includes 11-13 songs.