Monday, July 23, 2007

Voice, guitar, kazoo and washboard: John Roundcity

John Playing

Interview with John

Artist: John Roundcity
Medium: Vocals, guitar, kazoo and washboard
Location: Washington Square Park

When John Roundcity says he’s a native blues player of the “great black swamp” he’s talking about Toledo, Ohio. John has left his hometown swamp to search for opportunity in the Big Apple. “The Midwest is dying out,” he explains, “the jobs are leaving, no one wants to pay good money to listen to decent music…Even Detroit,” he laments, “Detroit’s a shithole, everybody knows that.” Remaining true to his roots, though, he adds “…but you gotta love it.”

So did John come to New York make money in the music business? “Ah, not so much… I’d rather play music…[but] there’s all this other opportunity around me.”

Although searching for any kind of opportunity, John Roundcity loves his music. He caught the music bug from his grandfather who was a harmonica player. His grandfather liked the blues so he says he naturally gravitated toward that. After learning the harmonica John taught himself the guitar. “I play the harmonica and I like to sing, so I figured I’d pick up guitar. Something to accompany my voice, I guess.”

John just moved to New York about a month ago but he’s not stranger to the place. He was usually here two to three months out of the year anyway visiting his brother. John loves playing in the streets of New York and enjoys it more than he being on stage, stating that he likes to be loud on his own and that after losing some hearing from performing on stage too much, he finds it hard to get back into it. He also has this to say:

“When you’re playing in a club or a bar it’s hard to get peoples’ attention…but if I could get just one person to stop when going from point A to point B and pay attention to what I’m doing, that gives me more satisfaction than playing in a room full of drunk people who necessarily don’t even give a shit. It gives me more satisfaction to be down here on ground level…I love it all.”

Like what you hear? Check out John’s
Influences – Harmonica: His grandfather and Sunny Terry
Guitar: Charlie Patton, Skip James and many old blues cats

Really like what you hear? Check out

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