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I'll be adding plenty more music and musings over time so do try and check back occasionally. And feel free to subscribe to the mailing list - you'll receive a free exclusive 4-song EP called Revelation Calling on sign-up.

It's April 2017 and spring is in the air - a time of natural transition and new beginnings. We all know life is about the journey rather than the destination, and if we find ourselves at a crossroads, the trick is not to know when to stop, but when to start!

This new site is a start, of sorts. As is the forthcoming album UNIVERSAL STRANGER.

 
 

Universal Stranger

 
 
 

The debut single from the album is 'A Little Misunderstanding' and was released via Strataville on 14 April 2017. 'Ghost In My Heart' is released on 23 June 2017. Have a listen below. 

The album is scheduled for release on July 28 and is available for PRE-ORDER now.

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As I was writing and recording the songs for the album a subconscious theme running throughout eventually revealed itself. It was a big ask - to somehow make our private peace resonate elsewhere and try to get where we all could, and even should, be.

I know it's a truism, but apart from a handful of people who we really know & understand, we are all strangers to each other - even though we're probably closer in the basics than it feels.

We're all primarily driven by the same fundamental need to breathe, survive and make some sense of our life. But there's always a part of us that remains us. A part seen by no-one else. Which is as close to a definition of the human soul as I think anyone will ever get.

I'm sure most of us, given the opportunity, would also like to do some good in the world. After all: culture, intelligence, history, race and belief all course through our collective souls.

I also wanted to make the songs sound clear but fearless and let friendly production principles offer up twists and turns just to keep things lovingly awkward. "

You know how it is?


 

Jon C Butler's Universal Stranger is due for release
on 28 July 2017 (Strataville). 

 
 
 
 

UNIVERSAL STRANGER - THE SONGS

Here's a few words about the songs on Universal Stranger.
Best read while listening to the album of course!


 

1) When The Walls Went Down

A sonic shoot along the decades since the Great Society. Well, my take on it at least. Wonder if we could have got things together better than we have?

I certainly think it’s a possibility but you never know. Maybe this actually is the best we can do! So, if you need a memory prompt, this song can help ease you into it.

2) Each Other

A folk song really. I bet it wouldn’t seem out of place at Aldermaston strummed on nylon strings. It chugs and bounces along with serious intent.

3) A Little Misunderstanding

There has been a misunderstanding hasn’t there? I mean we all know it isn’t meant to be like this and maybe there should be a reassessment of the deal. Stay away from that crossroad if you have to make a choice.

4) The Man Who Wouldn’t Love

I heard this phrase spoken and it stayed with me. I love listening to crafted tunes and this one is my offering in that department with the use of major sevenths and the general piano base of the song. It’s a redeemed blues sentiment in a way.

5) Universal Stranger

Written after a stay in a northern capital city. I like harmonies to be part of the sound as if they are an instrument themselves. This may come over like it's directed at an individual but its also yours to pick up and apply where necessary.

6)  Birmingham

There is more than one Birmingham on the planet and this is a spoonful of chords wrapped around a tale of escape and new beginning. Should be a book really, but I like to stay within the four-minute zone with metaphors and confessions.

 

7) Ghost In My Heart

Tried to arrange this in that mid-seventies style that briefly ran parallel to dear old punk.

I mean at the same time as safety-pin chic there were a few great records coming over from the East Coast which seemed to want to use quite uplifting vocal techniques married to a driving beat.

This is the album's respectable song in a way that is self-evident after a couple of listens.

8)  In The Wishing Well

It may be that whole lives are lived inside the wishing well! If that’s the case with others then it’s the case with me.

Don’t get me wrong it's not so bad down there. But it has its limitations and reality is a good teacher.

9) Mr Rock n Roll

OK, OK. I know! But have a good listen because whilst it’s a familiar tale in a familiar format it does carry experience. It’s a bit of a lark and I can handle a lark!

10) The First Stone

Who's going to throw it? Some of those rocks can cause more damage to the thrower than the target.

11) Would Have Should Have

It's an attempt at dealing with the past in order to let it go and move along. An attempt is just that and not a definite route out but it’s a clear enough retrospective.

And in case you were wondering this is how it reflects back to me.

 

 
 

ABOUT JON C BUTLER

Singer-songwriter Jon C Butler (aka John Butler) has been writing, recording and releasing albums since his band released their hugely influential debut Shakespeare Alabama some 25 years ago.

Although the album received tremendous critical acclaim and the band's sparkling Rickenbacker-jangling, West Coast rock was favourably compared to The Byrds and Springsteen, it was Jon's songwriting in particular that received the highest accolades.

While this early acclaim for both band and writer didn't turn into noticeable success, the band played on, and Jon's songwriting and burgeoning solo career continued unabated. 

After all 'a writer writes'. Every day! It's just what they do. And if a new song can touch people and make them feel a little less alone in the world, then all the better. They say a writer is the sum of their life experiences and it follows therefore that - like a fine wine - they must get better with age.

As we fast forward into 2017 the release of Jon's new album, Universal Stranger is a particularly notable occasion.

With eight critically acclaimed Diesel Park West studio albums, three John Butler solo albums and numerous collaborative releases behind him, Universal Stranger is actually a debut album!

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It's the first to be released under the name Jon C Butler. 

Why the name change?

Well, in a world where discovery is now dominated by Google and an artist's unique online presence is perhaps their most valuable asset. The new Jon C Butler moniker should arrest any further confusion between Jon and his Australian namesake.

 
Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope - a slight change and all patterns alter.
— Sharon Salzberg
 
 
 

Praise for Jon C Butler solo albums

THE LOYAL SERPENT - As the singer of Diesel Park West, John Butler delivered five highly invigorating albums in seven years. Although each was successful in critical terms, they barely sold enough to keep the five-man line-up alive. Clearly piqued, he’s now poured all his frustrations into a debut album that categorically aims to vindicate repeated claims that not only is he a great songwriter, but a commercial one to boot.

’The Loyal Serpent’ brims with an intoxicating alchemy of Celtic-like passion, delivered with the kind of religious zeal that recalls early Mike Scott, alongside some profoundly stirring blue-collared anthems that sound like he’s got the E Street Band backing him. The electric ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, in particular, suggests that a little adversity is all Butler needs to shine.
— Nick Duerden, Q magazine
WORTHLESS BASTARD ROCK - Butler’s second solo album contains all the high calibre material that you’d expect, and there’s no other current British artist who integrates the pivotal elements of exquisite songwriting and laudable performances into such appealing packages.

Perhaps as a conscious attempt to move away from influences such as the Buffalo Springfield and Moby Grape, this mainly acoustic collection of tracks nods more in the direction of the Beatles or Dylan. Indeed, ‘Ticket To Heaven’ has the feel and flair of the latter’s Highway 61 Revisited.

Butler has a rare talent that has gone unrecognised for too long. Quintessential listening.
— Rich Wilson, Record Collector
 

Pre-order Jon C Butler - Universal Stranger

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Universal Stranger - Jon C Butler

Pre-order the new album Universal Stranger now and receive exclusive updates and limited edition merch. Included in the pre-order is the opportunity to buy an exclusive, limited edition, 10-song, best of, retrospective bonus CD A Backward Glance in which Jon collates a personal selection of songs he's written & released over the years.

In the accompanying booklet he explains why he chose the songs, their significance and other anecdotes.

Choose from the following when you pre-order on Pledge, 

  • Signed, limited edition, hand-numbered, double CD of Universal Stranger and A Backward Glance plus an 8 page art booklet with stories about each song
  • Digital download of Universal Stranger
  • Digital download of Universal Stranger  and A Backward Glance
  • Acoustic House Show - solo performance from Jon

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