John Permenter
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John Permenter


Band Country Americana


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"Alsacian Country"

Dear listeners, lets talk for a while with John. He will tell us a little more about his music and this production.

• Is Country Music, for you, only a style of popular music or an art evolving ?

I do think of Country Music as a branch of popular music, only because it is distinct from classical music. The two strands separated in the early days of the church in Europe, when devotional music was isolated in churches and was able to evolve independently from “folk” music. Church music became more complex as talented composers were given the job of making it. Folk music remained simple, because the composers and performers were busy working in the fields - trying to stay alive.

In popular music, there is still a tendency for styles to get more sophisticated over time. Dixieland Swing evolved into Big Band Swing, and Rockabilly evolved into Heavy Metal and other forms – as audiences get bored and look for new things. But the appeal of Country Music has always been its simplicity. It is only one step away from folk, the music of real working people.

At the same time, Country music is not immune from the tendency all styles to grow and change and get more sophisticated. We saw this in the 1930’s, when Western Swing married simple country music with Big Band Swing. We saw it again in 1950’s when drums and electric guitar became standard in country music. In the following decades, artists such as Patsy Cline, Ray Price, Charlie Rich, Kenny Rogers, and Dolly Parton crossed over into pop with elaborate orchestrations and very fancy song structures.

Every time country goes pop, it leaves behind fans who still crave the old simplicity and directness. Even while Western Swing was in its heyday, Bluegrass music became extremely popular. And even while Ray Price and Kenny Rogers were crossing over into pop and rock, artists from Hank Williams to George Jones and Merle Haggard were singing their hearts out in a country style that remained very true to its roots.

And in the 80’s and 90’s, when country music on the radio began to borrow so heavily from 70’s rock and roll, traditionalists such as George Strait, Jon Anderson, and Alan Jackson stepped in to satisfy the demand for pure country.

• Need Country Music to evolve ?

Country music has always borrowed from other styles, and it always will. It is like an umbrella that becomes bigger and bigger. Nowdays, a rock groove like “Fast as You” fits under the same umbrella as an ancient folk song like “Wayfaring Stranger.” The creators of country music were simply expressing what was in their hearts; they were not making a lot of rules about what music should or should not be. So as long we do the same, while having some respect for the artists who came before us, the umbrella will continue to grow, and still be called “country.”

• What are your feelings when you sing songs from your repertoire ? What is your message ?

On a bad day, I am feeling anxious about performing well, hoping the people will like me, and doubting myself. That is when my ego is in the way.

On good day, I am forgetting myself, and feeling the message of the songs. If it is a happy or up-tempo song, I am enjoying it with the audience, and I feel they are my friends. I love the feeling of fellowship.

If the song is deeper, the lyrics become the message, and I am “telling” them with as much honesty as I can. In Wayfaring Stranger, I am feeling that life is very short and full of suffering, but when the pain is turned into music, we achieve freedom for a little while. And when I sing “When You Say Nothing at All,” I am usually thinking of my wife, Sarah.

Singing for French audience has been a very emotional change, because many of the audience speak no English. So I must really focus on the meaning and the feelings behind the words. On good days, a connection is made and people understand on a level that is deeper than words. This is like a miracle, and I don’t really understand it.

Music, like all art, takes beyond where words can go. That is why we need it. For me, there is little distinction between art and spirituality.

• Many singers from all around the world sing Country Music. What do you think about it ?

It proves that people all over the world need a type of popular music which speaks to their soul. Lots of different folks styles from Europe were blended into the American psyche before WWI, so its no surprise that Europeans and their former colonies like it. As a performer, I am very grateful for the phenomenon, because it has allowed be to play country music from Brazil to Finland to Australia.

• Could you tell us more about the new production ? Where did you record it ? Wich musicians, studio ? Is it a new direction or a mix of more influences

Jackson Mackay and I are recording my new CD at his studio in Alsace “Star Track Studio” It is a mix of original songs and favorites from our live show.

• Is it a new direction or a mix of more influences ?

It is a new direction in some ways, because it is much more of a collaboration than my earlier records. Jackson has written a beautiful song, called “One Dark Day,” that I would never have selected for myself, because it is so quiet and sensitive, and a little jazzy. Singing it was a big breakthrough for me – something I never thought I would be able to do.
We also have some fun material – some swing and some bluegrass. Also there are a few of my favorites from past years. These are songs that have always given me goosebumps. I hope the fans love them as much as I do.

• You’re living in England. Is it because you perform a lot in Europe? You’re from the south don’t you miss the sun?

I do miss Texas very much, so I go back twice per year. But Sarah is in England and my work is there, too, so I will stay. Also, I love the countryside of England as well as the charms of London. Life is good.
- Koonda Music

"John Permenter"

John Permenter a real Prince of Country Music

Quelle soirée my friends ! Samedi soir à Saint Martin d’hères à l’initiative de la Wetern Dance Company dans une Salle Bleue bondée, transformée en saloon texan, nous avons eu droit à un véritable festival qui fleurait bon le Sud Profond Américain que nous aimons .
Bottés, chapeautés, les adeptes de la vraie danse country qui se pratique la plupart du temps en ligne nous ont régalé de leur chorégraphie pendant une petite heure d’une spectacle renouvelé , orchestré par la truculente Mme Présidente Joëlle Doerflinger.
Des français, qui chantent de la musique du South,cela existe ! mais des musiciens Européens qui écrivent et arrangent de la musique Country et qui «l’exportent» ensuite dans les berceaux d’origine ,c’est plus rare ! c’est le cas de cette incroyable machine à swinguer dirigée par Jackson Mackay, due à une rythmique remarquable, puissante mais non tonitruante qui accompagna ensuite la vedette .
«humour allégresse, et tendresse»
Et c’est alors qu’entra sur scène le magnifique pur sang John Permenter qui se produisait pour la première fois dans les Alpes, avec la décontraction chaloupée, la voie suave et veloutée , des vrais « crooners » ! Il occupe tout de suite l’espace avec son violon, inséparable contrepoint instrumental à sa voie, dans la plus pure tradition de la musique «de la campagne» qu’il fait violemment vibrer quand le rythme s’accélère, ou chanter délicatement lors de délicieuses mélodies, évoquant irrésistiblement la lointaine Irlande médiévale …
Tout en continuant à danser le public eu droit à des références aux grands de la Country comme Hager ou Georges Strait, avec cette merveilleuse mélodie Amarillo By morning, ou des classiques d’Elvis Presley , ou même un pur blues sur le fond et dans la forme , au nom évocateur de : «milk cow blues». !! John , facétieux dédia et au moins cinq morceaux à son « ex femme » !
«humour allégresse et tendresse» voilà les Maîtres mots, d’un authentique ambassadeur de la musique du Sud de l’Amérique , qui continue à nous faire rêver tout en réalisant le rêve de son père qui lui communiqua le feeling de cette musique .

- French Newspaper


1995 Everybody’s Gotta Run Their Own Railroad
1997 Wayfaring Stranger
Live On stage
2011 The party ain't over yet



My musical education took place in dance halls and honky-tonks all across Texas, especially around Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. For several years, I travelled with Johnny Bush as his “front man”. Later, I worked as a featured singer at Gilley’s nightclub in Pasadena, Texas.
At Gilley's, I met European country fans for the first time. They seemed much more knowledgeable and appreciative of the music than most American fans !

During the mid-eighties, I began working in Houston’s recording studios. That’s where I met Clint Black, who hired me to play on his first album. I joined his band in 1987, and toured with him for two years. Next, I went to work for Moe Bandy in Branson, Missouri. I settled there for most of the nineties, working both as a sideman and a featured performer for Moe, Johnny Lee, Barbara Fairchild, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, The Branson Gospel Hour, and The Legend’s Show (with Jean Shepherd, Jack Green, Stonewall Jackson, Del Reeves, and others)

Currently, I am nearly finished with a new album, titled “The Party Ain’t Over yet” The producer is Jackson Mackay, my good friend and bandleader in France. Jackson really made me stretch for this project, as a singer, a fiddler and a songwriter. I am very excited about the result, and feel a strong sense of creative rejuvenation.

Most recently, I began playing in France with the Jackson Mackay Band. We play the bigger festivals there and in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Jackson and I have a strong musical partnership. Together with his band “JMB”, we are doing the best shows I have ever been a part of, and the audience response has been sensational.

At one of the good French festivals, I met the famous Canadian linedance choreographer, Guylaine Bourdages. To my great good fortune, she is writing dances to my songs. This is opening my music to a whole new audience.

I find myself on a new plateau in my life. I have finished my Bachelors degree in Humanities and gained teaching qualifications. I have married a second time, to a lovely linedancer named Sarah. We live together in Bedfordshire, England. Gigs are still going well, with shows in the Netherlands, festivals all over Europe, and invitations as far away as China. I plan to keep doing the best job in the world. For this, I feel very blessed, and I thank all of you who have been so supportive and encouraging.

International Booking ++33 389 38 89 31