ruben waters loves you
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ruben waters loves you

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"The Chicago Tribune"

From the Chicago Tribune
ON STAGE THEATER & MUSIC CHECK IT OUT

There's no one named Ruben Waters in Ruben Waters Loves You. Instead, the fictional tag is worn by Oklahoma City native Mark William Johnson as he leads the Chicago-based blues/rock quintet with husky baritone vocals and boundless charisma.

"Ruben Waters was the name of my imaginary friend when i was a boy and since this project revolves around personal songs I've written, I wanted to use a name that meant something to me," says Johnson, also the group's primary songwriter. "The idea of the 'loves you' part of the name is that there's always someone out there that loves you, even if it's just an imaginary friend. As people get older, they tend to lose touch with their youth and unfortunately that intagible innocence, so we're just trying to reclaim a bit of that."

Both the band's self-titled EP and live shows have an organic quality to them, with back-to-basics, soul-drenched rock. "I grew up admiring the greats like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder and Richie Havens--guys who all sounded so real," Johnson say. "I think people want music that's honest and not overly produced that returns to the simplicity of strong melodies and song structures to hook them."

Johnson's songwriting, like that of Havens or Jeffrey Gaines, is poetic, prolific and unhindered by cliches. Instead, his storytelling style might cover personal struggles, another's ordeals or fun-loving fictional narratives. "When you're singing about a break-up or feelings of [not being motivated], it can really take you out of a dark place," he explains. "Sometimes exploring abuse that a friend of yours may have experienced or just making up characters can be very therapeutic. I've always been drawn to darker themes, but I love marrying them with melodic and upbeat music."

The group's recent addition to Aware Records' online store only verifies that cross-branding's effectiveness, exposing Johnson's lyrics and the band's groove to fans beyond the city. "These guys are a diamond in the rough of the Chicago music scene," says Will Healy, Awarestore.com's retail director. "We only bring in artists to the store that we could recommend to customers and we've been truly taken by [Mark's] dark and deep vocals and the band's addicting rythms."

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Ruben Waters Loves You will do an in-store show at 2p.m. Saturday at Tower Records, 2301 N. Clark St. for more information on the band, visit their Web site at: rubenwaterslovesyou.com - Andy Argyrakis


Discography

Ruben Waters Loves You released a 7 song enhanced CD (with 3 videos) in January of 2003.
They are currently recording a full length CD, slated for completion in May 2006.

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Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Ruben Waters Loves You

Ruben Waters Loves You further defines and extends the soul genre with its singular blend of intimate lyrics and harmonies. One can hear elements of Motown, country, brit-rock, and 70's R&B distilled into something uniquely modern.

Singer/songwriter Mark William Johnson affirms, “The songs are intensely personal. Soul music simply means that your songs are honest, and each time you perform them you bare a little bit of your soul, your spirit and your life.”

Formed in February of 2001, Ruben Waters Loves You is the musical vision of Mark William Johnson. Born in Oklahoma City and raised in Chicago, Johnson cites his parents as his earliest musical influences. “I grew up in a house where on any given day you could hear everything from Richie Havens to the Chi-Lites to Jimi Hendrix – music was a constant." A veteran of the Chicago music scene, Johnson co-founded the seminal Chicago mod band I Spy and has done stints in 90 Days and Martha Rudy.

In February of 2003, a self-titled EP was released along with three videos.

The single “Who Would Have Guessed” was placed on a compilation distributed at US and World Cup Ski Events in conjunction with Tommy Hilfiger in January of 2003.

More recently, the song “Keep Me Around” finished among 12 finalists from more than 500 submissions in a contest sponsored by the National Academy for the Recording Arts and Sciences.

In November of 2004, the song "Anything" was selected for use in nationally televised promotional ads for the WB Network shows "Charmed" and "Smallville."

A twelve-song, full length CD is slated for release in May 2006.

A diverse and talented group of musicians round out Ruben Waters Loves You: Joe Bianco (Fareed Haque, Viery Peel) on drums, Brad Taylor (Billion Watt, Viery Peel) on keyboards and guitar, and Eric Williams (007, Tranquility Bass) on guitar and vocals, and Jonathan Taylor (Viery Peel) on bass.