One Night in Prescott

Posted by admin

Posted on 02:51, Wednesday, July 13



John Stewart was one of the most acclaimed American songwriters of the past century. He produced a body of work over five decades that spoke as much to the American spirit as the paintings of Wyeth or poetry of Whitman. John was one of the architects of folk music’s marriage with rock’n’roll, with his first solo album, 1968’s “California Bloodlines”, considered by many critics and artists to be the cornerstone of what we call today Americana Music.


John defined the term “prolific”, writing thousands of songs during his lifetime. In addition to his own recordings, his songs were covered by more than 200 artists, producing hits for Rosanne Cash, Anne Murray, Nanci Griffith, Joan Baez, The Monkees, and others.


John was beloved for the passion, character and wit of his live performances which showcased his narrator’s baritone, his unique and complex guitar style, and his uncanny humor and insights. John always surrounded himself with superb musicians, with whom he sculpted the soundscapes that brought his writing to life.


For the last several decades of his life, John was supported by a tight group of musicians from his native Southern California, who recorded on and sometimes produced his albums, toured and helped manage John’s Homecoming Records label. Their friendships with John were as deep as their musical connection.


John Stewart passed away much too soon on January 19, 2008, at the age of 68. Just 10 days later, John was scheduled to perform a concert in Scottsdale, Arizona. Six of his sidemen, then scattered across the country, loaded up their cars or boarded airplanes and headed to Arizona to fulfill that booking. They mounted the stage as “The John Stewart Band” and poured every thing they had into three hours of John’s music. They improvised arrangements on the fly, traded guitar solos, shared lead vocal duties – mourning but more importantly celebrating their departed mentor and friend. There were cheers – and tears. It was an evening of times remembered and new memories created.


That turned out to be only the first night these six musicians would come together to keep John Stewart’s songcraft alive. Stewart fans have enlisted them to perform across the country, where they have been joined on stage by fellow JS acolytes like Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles, Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary, Rosanne Cash and others.


One of those nights took place in Prescott, Arizona. The John Stewart Band took to the stage and breathed fire, playfulness, and soul into dozens of John’s songs. It was only months later that they learned that “the tapes had been running”, and that there existed a multi-track digital recording of the entire evening.


Under the skilled hand of producer and JSB band member John Hoke, highlights of that evening are captured on this recording, “One Night In Prescott”. The recordings reflect the skill of the players, their fidelity to John’s artistry, and their original interpretations of some of their favorite songs from John’s vast catalog.


The members of the John Stewart Band are:


Dave Batti, bass and vocals: Dave played and recorded with John Stewart for 25 years until his John’s passing in 2008.  During that time, he played on 24 releases with John and toured extensively throughout the U.S, the U.K. and Ireland.  Dave also has run John's label, Homecoming Records, since its inception in 1984.



Dave Crossland, guitar and vocals: Growing up learning John's music from singing hippie babysitters when he was as a kid, Dave first met John opening for him at a folk club near Boston. Weeks later, John flew him to California to record on Darwin's Army. The album, produced by John Hoke, won "Pick of the Week" from Billboard Magazine. Dave's latest CD, Mother Country, reinterprets a collection of John's songs and last year was up for a Grammy nomination.




Bob Hawkins, guitar and vocals: An admirer of John's talents for many years, Bob arrived at the Johnny Stew party much later than the rest of the band. After a week of wood shedding a set of John's songs, Bob was introduced to him by Dave Batti in the summer of 2006 in the parking lot of the venerable McCabe's in Santa Monica, California, and moments later joined him onstage for their first gig together. Bob was in the studio with John working on a recording in the days and weeks before John's untimely passing.



John Hoke,  guitar and vocals: A multi-instrumentalist and longtime John Stewart sideman, he co-produced John’s “Bullets in the Hourglass”, “The Day the River Sang” and “Darwin’s Army”.  He played on many of John’s albums and toured extensively with John for twenty-five years.



Dennis Kenmore, drums and vocals: Beginning in 1981, Dennis worked with John in the studio, touring, and for a time, was John’s booking agent and tour manager.  They shared a close and creative relationship which resulted in spirited studio performances as on “Punch the Big Guy,” and great improvisation moments on stage. John's legacy of style remains a powerful influence on Dennis' drumming to this day!



Chuck McDermott, guitar and vocals: Chuck worked closely with John during the early and mid 80’s. Chuck co-produced and carried the bulk of the harmony vocal duties on the album “Blondes”, and continued to play an important support role on The Last Campaign, Trancas and Punch the Big Guy. The live recording “Illinois Rain” captures the energy and range of Chuck and John’s performances as a duo.

Tales from Tom

Posted by admin

Posted on 17:56, Sunday, April 12

A letter to John Stewart by Tom Delisle...No one says it any better than this ~ Bob Shane


My friend John Stewart died this morning [January 19th, 2008] in San Diego, California ... in the hospital he was born in on September 5th, 1939 ... 68 years ago. 

John suffered a massive stroke or brain aneurysm early Friday morning in San Diego. Doctors had determined that any difficult surgical remedies that might have been employed to save his life-- even if successful -- would had left John immobile and unable to speak. It wasn't generally known, but doctors had told John in recent years that he had apparently experienced various minor strokes, likely in his sleep. 

In the early 1970s, Stewart wrote "Cooler Water, Higher Ground," one of his many highly personalized songs, in which he sang "I was born in the heat of September, and I died in the cool of the fall ... borning and dying we do all the time, it don't mean much of nothing at all." But his passing will mean so much, to so many, around the world.

John's all-time companion and wife Buffy, and his children -- Mikael, Jeremy, Amy, and Luke -- were at his side when he passed peacefully around 7:30 a.m. Pacific time. John never regained consciousness after collapsing in his hotel room late Thursday/early Friday, and was not in pain during his time at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego. 

John Stewart leaves a compilation of musical excellence unparalleled in his time. He recorded over 45 solo albums following his seven years in the Kingston Trio, 1961-67. He worked all the way up to the time of his death, having recently completed his latest as-yet untitled album. It is estimated that he wrote more than 600 unique and highly personal songs, many of them constituting a modern musical history of his beloved America. 

He leaves behind a wide-ranging group of fans who have felt a passion for him and his music that bordered on fanaticism. Chief among them are the Bloodliners, a hard-core legion of supporters who communicated via computer everyday in discussing John and his career.

It can now be said that John was told last summer, shortly before Trio Fantasy Camp 8, that he was suffering from the initial stages of Alzheimer's disease. That news was kept from the public in the hope that his condition would stabilize and allow him to work in the following years until the disease took its eventual toll. Indeed he had stabilized in the time since Camp, and was able to bravely perform several concert shows and do the studio work on his new album. 

If there is a blessing in his passing, it is that he will now be spared the true ravages of that awful disease. He will not suffer the gradual personal mental reductions caused by Alzheimer's, though he had already lost his ability to drive, owing to California law. In fact, one of the new songs on the upcoming album is "I Can't Drive Anymore," a typically honest and emotional personal reaction to his situation.

Speaking personally, losing John creates a hole in my soul. I had agonized for months over the Alzheimer's prognosis. But after talking with many of his friends and family yesterday, I can see that -- facing a debilitating future -- it was -- and this is so hard to say --the right time for him to go. This is what he would have wanted, in light of what he ultimately faced. 

Johnny always drew a crowd, and there was a gathering of friends at the hospital in San Diego over the past two days. Starting with Nick Reynolds from John's Trio days and his wife Leslie, John's entire family had been joined at his bedside by longtime sidekick Dave "Dave" Batti, John Hoke, Chuck McDermott, Greg Jorgenson, John's boyhood best friend George Yanok, who flew in from Nashville upon hearing the news, and other family, friends, and acquaintances. A kind of "Irish wake" was held throughout Friday and into early Saturday, with the friends and old bandmates sharing many of the limitless John Stewart stories. 

I'm so sorry to have to write this, to have to tell you this. Outside my closest family members, John was the brightest light of my life. This creates an emptiness that can never be filled. If you are tempted to mourn to great lengths today, as so many of us surely are, we have to remind ourselves of what a gift he was for all of us. And how lucky we all were to have had the opportunity to have shared in his amazing music and stage artistry. We might, each of us, have missed him, you know. But--lucky for us--we didn't. 

He hated moping around, and looked for the bright side, and laughter, in everything. He wouldn't even allow me to be 'down' about having cancer. He even berated me at one point about it. He had amazing drive, and a creative force within him that was stunning in its intensity and breadth. And some day his amazing personal songs will be discovered by a mass audience, and the world at large, and he will receive the wide-ranging accolades he was denied in his time.

Trust me. Think about him today, listen to that incredible body of his work, think about the electric personality we experienced in EVERY show he did .. in the literally thousands and thousands of performances in which he gave us everything he had, stretching from venues big and small, from coast to coast, from 1957 to 2007.

You will smile when you do; and eventually laugh when recalling the magic of his art and personality. We will not see his like again, but we have been so lucky to have shared him across the decades -- and found each other through him, because of him. It does not feel like it, but we are the lucky ones today. That will become evident in the time to come.

Because, like you ... I loved him too.

Tom DeLisle

Homecoming Central

Posted by admin

Posted on 22:48, Sunday, March 22

2011 coming too darn fast.


Oct. 23, 2010:  We're getting close.


September 10, 2009:  On the drawing board...


September 5, 2009:  HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY JOHN...we miss you more than ever.


August  12, 2009:  Spent the week in Scottsdale, AZ at Kingston Trio Fantasy Camp.  Lot of fun watching and meeting Josh White, Jr., the MFQ -1, Reynolds, Shane and Guard, Al Jardine, and all the Campers and Bloodliners...always fun.  John Stewart's vision lives on and is better than ever...THANK YOU JOHN.


March 2009:  Here's the latest: Huell Howser gets Alden's CD at a Ken Burns function in Agoura. Huell was the host and John Hoke was in attendance. They chatted and John gave Hewell "Drinkin' and Drivin" so that he could listen to the track "A Visit with Huell Howser."








Homecoming News

Posted by admin

Posted on 16:44, Saturday, February 21

Homecoming Records will be releasing Alden Sawyer's new CD, "Drinkin' and Drivin" in March 2009. Backed by John Hoke, Dennis Kenmore, Glynnis Campbell, and Dave Batti, and spiritually advised by Tom DeLisle and Greg Jorgenson, Alden's new release has 17 new cuts full of mid-life angst and tales of fanciful California characters.

He promises that he will not write anymore state concept albums, but we hope he doesn't move on to animals, like that dog of a tune he sung the other night.


Coming Soon!

This Site is powered by phpWebSite ©
The Web Technology Group, Appalachian State University
phpWebSite is licensed under the GNU LGPL