John Bartus - Songwriter, Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Bass, Harmonica, Percussion
Very few towns or cities could ever claim that their Mayor was a smokin' hot guitar player. The island city of Marathon in the Florida Keys is one of those towns. While politics is a temporary call to service, music is a life sentence. John Bartus, a more-than-four-decade full-time professional musician, singer, and songwriter, continues to raise the bar with his groundbreaking solo acoustic show.
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John’s songs cover a wide spectrum of topics – there are love songs, love-gone-wrong songs, and story songs about characters like the fun-loving Joe from “Vegas Town,” the Drifter from “Hit the Road Again,” the smuggler who ran out of luck from “Kiss Your Life Goodbye,” the dancer from “The Way It’s Meant to Be,” and the follower of visions from “Velvet Elvis.” There are songs about dealing with life (“Victim of Gravity”) and death (“Goodbye”). There is the tribute to the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia astronauts as well as John’s father, a Saturn IB launch team engineer (“Dawn’s Early Light”). And there are the Tropical Americana songs – “Palm Trees in Paradise,” “Captain of His Own Destiny,” “The Islands of Marathon” – that show the influence of living in a tropical island town for nearly 40 years.
Rag Magazine wrote in an album review, “John Bartus could well be a force to be recorded with, in the very near future. The song, ‘Velvet Elvis,’ is reminiscent of the soft sarcastic style of Warren Zevon: a man, eating donuts in the Black Lung Cafe, receives a vision from ‘The King’ through a velvet Elvis hanging on a wall, and is inspired to go to Graceland to steal one for his own, even though it means jail time. The remainder of the CD is done in the story song style of Joshua Kadison with the Florida themes of Jimmy Buffett. A pure storyteller in a minstrel’s soul, Bartus’ voice is crisp and clear, and the music is easy to enjoy.”
John’s most recent CD release is the mostly acoustic After The Storm, an album that captures the essence of rebuilding after disaster and appreciating what you have. This new release follows the Keys Disease 10th Anniversary Remaster, and Live From the Florida Keys Vol. 2. A new studio CD, Time & Tide, will be released next year, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of John’s first shows in the Florida Keys. John performs more than 200 dates a year throughout the Florida Keys. He calls these shows, many of them regular recurring gigs, his Perpetual Island Tour. His solo acoustic shows are never-planned-in-advance journeys into creative live looping and feature John's originals as well as his interpretations of select cover songs
You might have to subject yourself to a tropical island getaway in order to see John Bartus live – after three years on the road in the early 1980s, he figured out to stay in one place and let the listeners come to him. You’ll also have to put up with fishing, diving, beaching, fun in the sun, the world’s best seafood, and a tropical cocktail now and then… but the music is worth it!