Bottomley, John

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
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.