John Sonntag
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John Sonntag

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The best kept secret in music


"John Sonntag, One More Midnight (CD11)"

During the opening seconds of this disc, I thought David Crosby was trying to pull a fast one, putting out a folk/pop album under a pseudonym. Sonntag's vocals are uncannily similar to Crosby's; a clear tenor with a Zen-smooth delivery. Thoughtfulness played an integral role throughout this album, from the core element of Sonntag's writing to the execution, arrangement, and recording of the tracks themselves. Sonntag's gonna turn lots of new ears in his direction with this one. - The Musicians' magazine for NY and NJ July 1997

"The Edge of Innocence Hidden depths lurk in the shiny happy melodies of John Sonntag's new CD"

John Sonntag's new CD, “One More Midnight,” is a high-water mark in his career and even in the storied realm of Hoboken musical collaborations. The album consists of 11 finely crafted songs Sonntag either wrote himself or co-wrote with other Hoboken-based musicians. His songwriting cohorts are Don Brody (The Marys, Zesty Records), Margo Hennebach (former Hobokenite, 1-800-Prime CD Records) and Rich Grula (Zesty Records). Producing or co-producing three tracks was Hoboken's James Mastro, of the Health & Happiness Show (Bar None). Bob Harris of Nashville and Sonntag himself took care of the remaining production. Guest musicians from the area include Mastro, Dave Post and Carol Sharar (both of the Amazing Incredibles), Art Desimine and Manny Oro. Singing harmony are Brody and Hennebach (as well as Bob Harris and Tamara). The result is a shimmering acoustic-folk backdrop for Sonntag's pure, sweet tenor. And while the sound is pretty, the overall impact of the music is considerably more. As David Cogswell (former Hudson Current editor) puts it in the liner notes: “Those who equate meanness with hipness might have thought that Sonntag's melodies and his smooth tenor voice must reflect a lack of depth, but they were missing the tragedy and irony that run through his music. The tragic element in these songs does not come out and hit you over the head. Instead the softness, the prettiness envelope you, seduce you, and only later do you realize that a heartache has slipped under your guard and hit you when you were not expecting it.” Sonntag is currently touring in support of the new CD. - Hudson Current Volume 7, Number 7May 22-28, 1997

"John Sonntag “One More Midnight”"

John Sonntag is a singer-songwriter worthy of imitation and attention. the songs are strong musically and lyrically. They bear well under repeated listening and exude layers of meaning. As his name implies for me, “Sonntag” offers Sunday music‹music for relaxation, recuperation and preparation. - Jam Rag Volume XII no. 19


"One More Midnight" 1997.


Feeling a bit camera shy


About John Sonntag

The Music

The road -- it’s a mythic setting for American music, and it knits our nation of wanderers together. In the songs of John Sonntag it’s a recurring image, be it the buoyant path of possibilities in a song like “New Paradise” or the poignant promise of escape in one like “Hiding Behind Headlights.”

John’s own road has led from an upbringing in the steel towns of Pennsylvania to an education at the musician’s mecca of Berklee in Boston; from a significant role in the vibrant independent music scene of Sinatra’s former home, Hoboken, to a mature producing and recording career amid the peaceful splendor and wealth of stories in historic Lambertville, New Jersey, along the Delaware River.

John’s musical road winds through the many sounds of America, with a downhome fondness for acoustic strumming, mournful slide guitar, plaintive harmonica and sprightly piano as well as an affection for the modern atmospherics of electric fuzz and the faroff instruments America has embraced, like the mandolin that brightens some of his songs.

He’s kept good company on this journey, sharing stages with talents ranging from Richie Havens to Alison Krauss, and serving as producer, player, collaborator or songwriter on a number of respected indie artists’ albums.

Many of the latter wrote songs or sang with him on his first CD, One More Midnight, an all-star reunion of the Hoboken folk scene which embodied the urban sophistication John brings to timeless musical qualities, and the confidence with which his own artistic voice mixes with other visions.

John’s actual voice is one of the main marvels of his music; a sweet, supple instrument comfortable in settings from countrified croons to slow funky grooves and uptempo roots-rockers. The stories he tells with that voice range from deserted factories to happy new homes, drunken laments to emotional rebirths; the private surprises and disappointments that make up the quiet epic of everyday lives.

As John’s musical quest continues, the title of his upcoming album says it all: Chasing Stars, the motto of a music boundless in its horizons yet satisfied with simple pleasures. John Sonntag’s restless road may have no end in sight, but the music he makes is not about what’s lonely and left behind, but what connects people, and how far you’ve come.

About John Sonntag

The History

Born: New Castle, Pennsylvania

Studied: Berklee College of Music, Boston

Talents: Vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, piano, songwriting, production

Influences: The Beatles, Little Feat, CSN&Y, Bob Dylan, Richard Thompson

Selected Concert Venues: Hoboken Arts and Music Festival, Hoboken, New Jersey; the Turning Point, Piermont, New York; Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair, New Jersey; CBGB’s Gallery, New York City.

Songs Covered by Other Artists:

“All I Want to Do Is Dance”
Performed by: Margo Hennebach (Prime CD recording artist), and
Kathleen Stieffel (MCA recording artist);
Recorded by: Naked Blue in 2000 on their Bluetick release Thursday, October 21

“One More Midnight”
Performed by: Kathleen Stieffel

“Tied to a Tumbleweed”
Recorded by: Esther on her 2001 release Eve’s Lament

Selected Production Credits:

2004: Ansel Matthews, Raised from the Dust (self-released)
2001: Esther, Eve’s Lament (Thunder Pumpkin Records)
1997: Tai Burnette, Not So Small (Ear Movies)
[With Mark Godwin, Julian Harris and Steve Gaboury]
1996: John Sonntag: One More Midnight (Thunder Pumpkin Records)
[With James Mastro and Bob Harris]

Selected Recording Credits:

2002: Electric guitar for Mary Ann Farley’s My Life of Crime (Powder Burn Records)
2001: Acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, harmonica, backing vocals and keyboards for Esther’s Eve’s Lament (Thunder Pumpkin Records)
1997: Guitars and harmonica for Tai Burnette’s Not So Small (Ear Movies)
1997: Mandolin, harmonica, electric guitar, and backing vocals for Rich Grula on Big Happy Crowd’s Folk and Feedback (Zesty Records)
1996: Guitars and harmonica for Mary Ann Farley’s Daddy’s Little Girl (Deko Records)

Selected Showcase Performances and Other Industry Highlights:

2001: Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) Conference.
1998: [Insert organization name] (NEMO) in Boston.
1998: Selected as one of the six winners of the New Jersey Folk Festival's New Folk Artist Showcase.
1997 and 1998: The Philadelphia Music Conference.
1995: The Cutting Edge Music Business Conference in New Orleans.

Selected Artists Performed With:

Alison Krauss
Lowen & Navarro
Aztec Two-Step
Commander Cody
Richie Havens
Rory Block
Maria Muldaur
Dar Williams
Greg Greenway
Professor & Mary Anne
John Pousette-Dart
Margo Hennebach
The Marys
Naked Blue
Health & Happiness Show
Helen Hook
Point Cross
Dan Hicks
Freedy Johnston

Other collaborations:

Rich Grula
Between 1993 and 1994 John collaborated with Rich Grula, bass player and songwriting partner in Glenn Morr