One thing John Waite has come to understand during his illustrious career in music is that the best way to live and learn is also the hardest way: accept that there can be no highs without lows, no gain without loss, and certainly no love without pain. Take nothing for granted, maintain your integrity. Then, at least, you give yourself every chance of going the distance.
From British bar bands to duets with Nashville superstars is quite a journey. Indeed, three decades have passed since a restless, wild-eyed teenager from northwest England first packed his bags for London to pursue his passion for music. Though he has enjoyed chart-topping records and sold-out concerts around the world, John Waite’s hunger has never diminished. “When I took my current band out on the road to play a few gigs this summer, the energy both onstage and from the audiences was fierce,” says Waite. “Initially, we thought we’d just go out for a short while before heading into the studio to record a new album. But then I realized that I was having such a phenomenal time playing in front of people that the next record could wait. That’s how I am these days. If something feels right, then I just do it.”
“That’s basically been my approach over the years,” says the British singer/songwriter. “Sticking to my guns – that’s the only way I know. It makes success that much sweeter. Bottom line: it’s more honest. And, besides, I’ve never wanted to become a rock’n’roll caricature.” Without question, this frank, positive outlook, along with his unwavering sense of self-worth in an often fickle, cutthroat industry, has been the key to John Waite’s formidable staying power.
The resilience, spontaneity, and power that Waite has cultivated over his career are palpable in every note of his new album, Downtown…Journey of a Heart. Worth particular notice is a stunning new recording of his timeless ballad “Missing You,” cut as a duet with 20-time Grammy®-winning bluegrass siren Alison Krauss. Her haunting vocals elevate the already classic song to a new level of bittersweet, emotional power.
But this album is certainly not just ballads for a broken heart. No, John Waite has a way of stomping on that injured organ with a driving backbeat; and those hobnail boots that the English seem to love so much. The cut “The Hard Way” may come on like a kick ass rock ‘n’ roll party tune, until you realized that it’s your ass that’s getting kicked. And as you sit there banging your head in recognition of something that you already know, it somehow makes it a bit more real when you hear him sing about those hard knocks, and the lessons that only come from experience.
Another highlight on this record is John’s fresh take on Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61,” which he does as an infectious blues shuffle, while bringing his own unique interpretation to those extraordinary lyrics. Then, there’s “Head First.” This is rock and roll. This is sex…and ah…sex…and well…sex. And that brings us to “Downtown.” Of all his songs this has to be the most honest. This one can easily be described in just a single word: art. For only a true artist could be this honest, yet this optimistic.
In between recording for film soundtracks and touring Waite, finds himself simply being true to himself and to his art. “DOWNTOWN journey of a heart”, has much to offer to everyone, memories for some and for many, new memories still to be created. A reflection of Waite's past and present and a glimpse into the future as his journey continues...