Winter Park / Live Music: John Statz and the true test of a good song
Multi-instrument musician John Statz joins local guitarist and songwriter Eric Oly Olson to trade sets during a free concert at the Winter Park Pub Saturday night.Statz plays acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, lap-steel guitar, acoustic bass and electric guitar; and said he’ll be bringing along his acoustic guitar, banjo and harmonica for the Saturday-night show with Oly. Statz’ musical style is said to embrace the sounds of folk and alternative country, which should blend well with Oly, whose music showcases not only folk, but rock and the wide genre of Americana.Statz said his folk sound isn’t traditional enough for that definition entirely. I really strive for the songwriter/Americana thing. He said he likes playing the melting-pot of Americana, which incorporates musical elements immigrants came over with in the 19th and 20th centuries, and that he loves lyrics and the common man quality of folk music.Everybody loves a good song, and folk songs have been an integral part of every society. America would not be the same without folk singers like Stephen Foster and Woody Guthrie, as Africa has benefited from the likes of Fela Kuti and Oliver Mtukudzi and Chile from poet Pablo Neruda, he said. I think the true test of a good song is if you can reduce it to a voice and an acoustic guitar, and if it still hits you, you know that it’s great.Great songwriters Statz points to include Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Adams, Iron & Wine, Gillian Welch, Cohen, Sufjan Stevens and Van Zandt and a songwriter by the name of Jeffrey Foucault who is also from Wisconsin (like Statz). History has also been a major influence for Statz, who has written songs about Vietnam and more recent events such as Hurricane Katrina.He has a new song about a German immigrant living in Kentucky during World War I that he’ll feature Saturday night that he’s only played at one other show. The topic, he said, runs close to his heart because he is of German ancestry.The Rocky Mountains in particular have been a major inspiration to Statz, who said he’s written many songs in Colorado, with songs about Winter Park, Georgetown and Silverton. He and his family have enjoyed a part-time home in Winter Park for many years and, as he grew older, Statz started bringing his guitar with him from Wisconsin to play at open mic nights around the area, where he met fellow musician Oly.Since then, Statz has enjoyed playing at many fine Grand County venues, including Buckets Saloon, the Down Under Pub, and the Winter Park Pub. I have met many of the local musicians and really enjoy the music scene in Grand County, he said.As the musician draws closer to the show, touring through Iowa and Nebraska, he said the further West he gets the more excitement he feels and that he can’t wait to be back at his familiar stomping grounds.Oly said the two may play some songs together later in the evening just for fun and that he hopes people come away with a smile, a buzz … and maybe a few CDs.
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