Australia's legendary roots jam band
John Butler is no pie-in-the-sky hippie. He has dirt beneath his feet: red dirt. He is well known Down Under for his environmental and political commitment. He has put his money where his mouth is, fronting a campaign that helped stop a vast gas plant from despoiling the natural beauty of the Kimberley area in NW Australia. He is a man who cares about the world he is in and one who has tried, in his own way, to set it right. The music? There are dirty Stevie Wonder–style boogies, ghostly refrains that could come from Simon and Garfunkel, sonic poltergeists which seem, at times, to resemble lost rock classics. In the hands of a lesser man this would be mere thievery dressed up as "eclecticism." But John Butler is a maestro—he takes his influences and transcends them. He creates a sound that is as ancient as aboriginal bone art and yet as modern as your Twitter feed. He has been hailed as one of the world’s greatest guitarists, a musician’s musician, one whose sound offers not three chords and the truth but a thousand. An independent role model, founder of Australia’s Jarrah Records, family man and proud skateboard aficionado, John Butler, in spite of his matey public persona, remains an enigma. He is from everywhere and nowhere, an Australian/American, Everyman/Nowhere Man, and his music mixes rootedness and rootlessness, pain and celebration in a way that is utterly beguiling.
This show takes place at The Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak, MI. It is co-presented by The Ark and AEG Live.