John Bottomley

According to John, he has "been very fortunate to have worked with some great people such as T-Bone Burnett and David Kershenbaum". His musical career has been "something like Alice in wonderland". John not only writes his own music and lyrics, but also has a talent for art and literature. In particular, he has illustrated his book, posters and CD covers. His work shows a sense of contemplation and stillness combined with a comical inclination of the surreal. Of his music, John says,

"I try not to trap my music in any style since this can be very dangerous. My music is sometimes magical, sometimes exotic, but at other times, sinister".

"I try to do what the poetry tells me to do".

"I also do a number of pen and ink drawings of characters that magically reappear in my songs".

John was born in Toronto on September 17, 1960, and studied classical piano at the age of six. Since his father was in the air force, he lived in various places including Toronto, Ottawa, London (England), Cold Lake Alberta, as well as Lahr, Germany, where he found himself at the age of 14, studying the guitar. At the age of 16, he started playing in the bands Albatross and Celsius, and toured in the Black Forest region of Germany.

By 1980, John returned to Toronto and began performing with the band Tulpa, who were early pioneers of the Queen Street scene. In 1983 John began his recording career with the release of Tulpas' first single "Apologize to Your Mother" followed by his first LP "Mosaic Fish". The following are his contributions to the world of music and literature:

1985 Mosaic Fish Midnight Music, U.K.

1986 Live at GBGB's Off the Board Records, New York

During 1990, John released his first solo recording.

1990 Library of the Sun Crane/Bag / Latent / BMG Canada

1992 Songs with the Ornamental Hermits BMG Canada

1995 Blackberry BMG Canada

1995 Triskelion Self Published

1998 Raggle Taggle True North/Universal, Canada

2000 The Crown of Life (Part 1) Crane/Bag Recordings, Canada

2001 The Crown of Life (Part 2) Crane/Bag Recordings, Canada

2001 Here's the Candy Minerva Press, U.K.


John Bottomley The Crown Of Life









These songs are about elevation,about inspiration,about action.

In an age where we are force-fed by the media and the music industry,singers with there own voices are needed now more than ever.
Here is one.

The Island in September.

On the isle a relentless wind comes-a life force.
In search of undiscovered sound
an unknown language and the royal doors of sweet breath
in search of freshly created things.

Swimming in the golden zone
the bells of the forest rang in the mountains
the grey ships rowed in
where the rank of the white gardenias bloomed upon the shore
the sapphire hour was brilliant
the peasants here were noble and royal
a poet played on an elvish harp
in the key of love
the spirit bears,snow lions,elk,unicorns
and dolphins came in from the wild lands

The song forbids victorious deeds to die
to this no star be dark

The world advanced.......

Later the summer moon came up over the silver tips of the
forest to listen more clearly and celebrate.

What is this she said so fair and pleasing...........

John Bottomley
Raggle Taggle











John Bottomley

John sets fables to music; concise short-stories that evoke a wide range of times, places, and sensual experiences. John Bottomley has a great voice. That stands out throughout this CD. He has a distinctive manner in which he phrases his lyrics. The CD itself is good. A fine mix of folk-rock with pop. Bottomley wears his influences on his sleeve (John Lennon, Neil Young, Dylan). In fact the opening track "The River" borrows heavily from Lennon's "Old Dirt Road." He does manage to use such influences to create his own sound. He writes interesting lyrics that demand attention in a very subtle way. An example of this is heard with the song "You Lose and You Gain" (the clear highlight of the set). Utilizing great production and arrangements, Bottomley makes it sound so real and personal that it is almost uncomfortable for the listener. The song is sheer brilliance (co-written with producer David Kershenbaum). Overall, it is a creative and ambitious album well worth investigating for fans of '70s folk-rock with a '90s sound.

John Bottomley

collector's item

only 1 used copy available (in good condition)



John Bottomley
Songs of the Ornamental Hermits

Mercury Manor

Once while travelling abroad,i found myself in a deep fog
one so thick i was intoxicated into the most peculiar mood
the earth under my feet was scotch broom and bracken
I walked on for some distance having no sense of direction
until my eyes caught tracks on the ground
they looked like fossil bird tracks one would find in a
I followed the footprints for what seemed like an hour as
i zigzagged down a narrow mountain road
the path became softer like walking on a croquet lawn
suddenly the fog disappeared and my fingers touched a gate
of Bavarian wood
the gatekeeper was a bowing gargoyle wearing a white suit
and a blue hat
on his left breast embroidered,was the hermits coat of arms
he was holding a mistletoe known as the low country badge.

I lifted the latch and walked through the gate
the landscape was surrounded by rows of ancient oaks
at the edge of the forest were lofty hills that rolled up and down
the guest appeared in a miracle of surprise
as a fresh scent of oconee bells,phantom orchids
and mountain blue flags came rushing by
in a tree ,magical birds were in a ceremony weaving nests
in their Avian architecture
there was a flood of unpretending melody
there were spangled drongo's in gossips court
a belted kingfisher,flocks of ribbon-tailed birds of
Directly on my right on a knoll was the fabled Norfolk
water reed in its wild luxury
there was a pond with a black swan,crimson beak silently
the trees were whispering
i stopped and gazed down the path
a short distance down one path was a sign that read
Mercury Manor
hidden in the trees i saw a small cottage and smoke
rising from a golden roof
the cottage fit so well in the scene it became invisible
then visible with the lime twig spells of twilight
the magical effect made me feel i was standing in a painting
the cottage was very small,maybe ten feet high and twenty feet wide
at the back there was a small tower,a medieval star,planet
gazing tower
in the garret i imagined a quiet library where one could
read and listen to the music of the orbs
in a window was a colony of rare white lady's slipper.

Rocking in front of an oak door was a woman in a chair
she drank from a turquoise teacup
She was the most beautiful woman i have ever seen
there was something strange about this place,something
something mid-air,mid-earth
this scene was the craft work of a gnome
a sylph,dryad,genie
and of the remarkable elves.............

John Bottomley
Library of the Sun

Enter through the red door
there are two corridors and nine doors
each room has one song
stay in a room until each song finishes....

Coming out of a band called Tulpa(which is Buddist for Imaginary friend given to you at birth)who were together for 10 years and did 2 recordings in the 1980's.
Mosaic Fish and Live at CBGB's in New York.

I left the band and drove through the Southern States and
all the way across Canada.I did about 150 gigs playing in all sorts of Backwood bars and also major cities like New York.
I slept mostly in the back of my car,and on friends couches.
This is the recording that set me on a journey i am still on 13 years later.Its very different being a solo artist than playing in a band.Its a different journey..