John Erlandson
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John Erlandson

Band Folk Acoustic


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The best kept secret in music


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These Things Matter (2006)
Ready For Your Heart (2003)


Feeling a bit camera shy


When I began to put John's “bio” together, all I could think was “man, of all the people I know, your life is your bio… and your songs say it way better than I ever could.” Maybe that’s why it’s taken me far too long to get it together. One page to sum up John Erlandson… impossible.

I opened up my trusty box of words, index cards filled with all of my favorite written wisdoms. I was looking for one in particular. But as I was searching, I kept coming across other gems that seemed to scream at me “That’s him! That’s John!” Phrases like “love sparks imagination into extraordinary activity. Being ‘in love’ is like being ‘in imagination.'” So, I thought, that’s where the imaginative well-spring of John’s songs comes from, he’s in love!

Then I found this from the Dalai Lama, “Love, compassion and tolerance are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” I know I’ve heard that in John’s songs, too.
John’s Minnesota upbringing had him singing and playing guitar at age 15 in youth camps and church services. Before long, he would be writing “spiritual songs,” teaching, and leading worship bands in Minneapolis churches. But, not satisfied with merely “preaching to the choir,” he moved to Colorado and soon took his music, lyrical lucidity and melodic magic into the mainstream. In ’95, after attending the heralded Song School in Lyons, CO, John began writing songs to play in coffeehouses, bars and even right out in the street. Initiating the “street music” movement in Evergreen, CO led to regular gigs at the world-famous Little Bear Saloon where he collaborated with many of Denver’s finest musicians and opened for such national acts as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and David Wilcox.

On ‘Ready For your Heart,’ released in ‘03 and recorded by John and his “Mostly Pretty Random All-Stars,” one hears the musical influences of James Taylor, John Denver, and Scottish folk-icon, Dougie MacLean. His recent ’06 release, ‘These Things Matter’ picks up traces of Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne, but the songwriting and melody line is distinctly John’s. And if you listen closely, you’ll also hear the influence of numerous strong social and spiritual leaders, from Jimmy Carter and Martin Luther King, Jr., to the always radical truth-in-love teachings manifest in the life and works of Jesus.

Ethos (integrity), pathos (compassion), and Logos (God-truth)... these are the threads, intimately and intricately woven into the music of John Erlandson. Together they shape a melodic tapestry of agape-love which is purely other-directed, seeking nothing in return, sheer self-gift.

-Kevin Deforrest… author, songwriter, fellow-musician