Paul Lee Kupfer is from a lot of different places—a West Virginia native, he lived in Pennsylvania, California, and Montana before settling in Knoxville. When he’s not on the road as a solo singer-songwriter, Kupfer is one-third of the Bus Driver Tour, with fellow country-folkies Ian Thomas and Danny Freund. (Thomas is also based in Knoxville; Freund lives in Montana.) It’s an itinerant life for an itinerant musician.
Somewhere along the way, though, Kupfer managed to stay in one place long enough to record Where the Wind Goes, his debut solo album. It’s a collection of unreconstructed folk in the style of early Bob Dylan, John Prine, and Arlo Guthrie, recorded at Wild Chorus Studio here in Knoxville with Jamie Cook, Robert Richards, Evie Andrus, and Josh Oliver. The songs range from quiet melancholy (“Highway to the Coast”) to shuffling blues (“Riverbank Blues”) and vibrant, fiddle-fueled road anthems (“Where the Wind Goes”).
Based out of State College, Pennsylvania, Lowjack has been a staple of the local music since 2003 performing a blend of original material as well as covers from artists like Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, the Beatles, Charlie Daniels Band, and many more. Come check us out live or listen to our album at home!
John Vento is often called a chameleon in the Pittsburgh music scene; and, while his critics may use the term as a pejorative, Vento views it as a compliment. He understands that they’re motivated by the frustration of their inability to lock him into a specific musical style. After all, the front man for the high-energy, hard-rockin’ bands, The Businessmen, and the Nied’s Hotel Band, is also known for his introspective, brooding solo recordings.
Rather than a drawback, however, Vento considers such diversity to be among his strengths; and his fans agree. They relish sharing his tumultuous trek toward achieving his artistic vision, which he accomplishes by channeling a blend of eclectic influences through his own, raw emotions.
Helping to engineer the roller coaster ride is a stout core of colaborators, including John Randall Fox, Buddy Hall, Tim Hadley, and Frank Ferraro, along with renowned playwright/lyricist, Amy Hartman. Many members of this crew have been with him for more than a decade; and it’s easy to understand why, as Vento consistently showers them with appreciation and accolades. Though a one-of-a-kind performer, he professes a great distaste for the word, “solo,” insisting that, “Without my collaborators, I would not have accomplished anything.”
That’s no surprise to those who know him, as he truly is a humble, loving, and grateful person, who treasures his family and friends. Certainly, that comes across, loud and clear, in his honest, from-the-heart songs; and that, undoubtedly, is another quality which endears him to his fans. As he puts it, “If just one person is touched in some small way by one of my songs, that’s the greatest reward that I could receive.”
Of course, it’s purely logical that Vento would find a great following in this town. His steely resistance to categorization is the very essence and backbone of Pittsburgh. Built by a veritable melting pot of blue-collar workers, the once-gritty city has risen from the slag heap, through the smoke and haze, to become a sparkling, spectacular hub of culture and learning. Yet, it remains true to its deeply-forged identity.
And, through his molten lyrics and passionate delivery, Vento covers that entire spectrum.
When performing live John is accompanied by:
Ian Arthurs – Acoustic Guitar
Phil Vento – Bass
Lou Ross – Percussion