Band Members: John Butler (Guitar, Vocals)(Butler primarily plays an acoustic 12 string guitar with the high g string missing, will also play banjo and lap steel) Byron Luiters (Bass, Backing Vocals) Grant Gerathy (Drums, Percussion)
Biography: The John Butler Trio is a jam/roots rock band that formed in Fremantle, Australia in 1998. The band has been led by guitarist and vocalist John Butler and has featured a revolving door of musicians rounding out the Trio. Currently the band features Butler along with Byron Luiters (who has been in the trio since 2009) on bass and new-in-2014 drum and percussionist Grant Gerathy. The band has released 6 studio albums, (their latest effort Flesh and Blood dropped in February.) The band has also released 3 live albums. The latest, a release of their show from Red Rocks in 2010, (a must listen for anyone wanting to get familiar with JBT’s live sound.) John Butler Trio has experienced great success in their native Australia since their outset with chart topping albums (3 Australian #1’s) and radio success. The band has also become a success in America, becoming a regular and favorite on the summer jam festival scene with their engaging live shows. The band is no stranger to the major American Music Festival Circuit either, over the course of Butler’s career the trio has played all the major US Festivals including 3 past appearances at Bonnaroo (’02, ’07, ’10). (Source Wikipedia, Bonnaroo.com)
Major Discography: The John Butler Trio has 6 studio albums
John Butler (1998)- Essential Tracks: Ocean Three (2001)- Essential Tracks: Betterman Sunrise OverSea (2004) - Essential Tracks: Treat Yo Mama; Zebra Grand National (2007)- Essential Tracks: Better Than; Funky Tonight; Used To Get High; Losing You April Uprising (2010)- Essential Tracks: Revolution; Don’t Wanna See Your Face; Mystery Man Flesh & Blood (2014)- Essential Tracks: Only One; Wings Are Wide
Sounds Like Genre: The most common genres tagged to the John Butler Trio are roots rock and jam band. But Butler’s signature guitar playing can show signs of funk, blues, bluegrass, and alternative rock and through the course of a live show you will hear all of these come out.
Similar Artists: Michael Franti, Ben Harper, ALO, G-Love
Kinda Similar Bonnaroo Artists: Yonder Mountain String Band, Seasick Steve
Suggested Listening If you look/listen to the “Essential Tracks” from the above Discography you will get a good sense of John Butler’s Sound. All of these songs are ones that he plays pretty often live and will give you a good base to go off of. If you are looking for albums to really dive into I would recommend Sunrise Over Sea and Grand National (just my personal favorites) I would also recommend checking out JBT’s Live At Red Rocks Live Album (It is available on Spotify)
Here are some live vids of JBT:
"Ocean" This is the video you have to watch. Just a beautiful acoustic guitar piece. This will be the highlight of the set.
"Funky Tonight" - A great live song to get people dancing
"Better Than" Featuring John on banjo
Physical Reaction/Live Show
John Butler Trio is a band that can appeal to many different types of music fans. They are a great band for people who want chill out on a blanket in the back with some corn; they are also a band that can get you dancing like a mad man. John Butler’s live show is sort of a roller coaster ride. They can lure you in with a catchy acoustic pop sing-a-long song (Don’t Wanna See Your Face, Zebra) or two. Then they will mix in a little jam and show off their playing skills. Then suddenly John Butler will decide he wants people to start feeling euphoric, and he will break into “Ocean” his signature acoustic guitar composition, a piece that will make you ponder deep thoughts, move you to tears, and jump for joy all in about 10 minutes. The band will the wrap up the set with more jam that will result in dancing and lots of band/crowd interaction.
Personal Notes John Butler Trio is a band that I will always circle on a lineup poster. I know I am getting good tunes and great musicianship every time I see them live. What keeps me coming back is the opportunity to hear Ocean live once again. This song has been a personal favorite of mine since I was in high school and the emotions experienced when hearing it live are amazing. The opportunity to hear it live at my favorite place in the world would be quite a moment. JBT will be closing That Tent on Saturday before Jack White’s headlining performance. I’m excited to see trio in a more intimate tent setting, and I really believe the show will be a special experience. The only bummer is that JBT is up against a lot of great names that I will have to miss. There are a lot of options at this time, if you choose this option you will not regret it.