Performer inspired by parents
By Gina Kabat
TC News correspondent
Inside a quaint coffeehouse, a songwriter pours his soul into his cup of music. Just another great lyric in the life of John Lambert.
Lambert's music is a blend of diverse influences and flavors naturally grounded somewhere between rock and pop. "My parents' music, which is quite diverse, was some of my biggest influences. From the early pop era, my dad listened to Big Band music like Glen Miller and Benny Goodman and my mom played many great records from the early singing groups from the '40s and '50s like the Anderson Sisters and the Platters," he said.
As a teen, he discovered The Beatles and developed a vast interest in all pop/rock music of the 1970s and 1980s. His modern day inspirations include Elvis Costello. "I'm a huge fan. Elvis is one of the greatest pop songwriters of all time and extremely under-appreciated," he said.
His self-taught musical ambitions stirred up at the age of 13 from life experiences and finding the absurdity of human behavior. "I grew up across the country and overseas in Germany because my dad was a career military man," John said. John currently lives in Forest Junction after living in the Appleton area. He continues to brew fresh ideas into his music to keep the atmosphere serene yet with thoughtful meaning in verse.
Writing about absurdity of life
It's not hard to get comfortable listening to the easy tune of an original classic of John's called "She's Got Eyes," a story about a failed relationship and the emotional clarity a girl now sees but is unknowingly admired by another man she doesn't even notice. "I also see absurdity in some of the things we value like superficial beauty, materialistic consumerism and certain primitive ideals...I write about that," he added.
For John and his ambition to write a good song, it's the ability to convert the human experience into a variety of musical formats. "It's the expressing of feelings, thoughts, philosophy and any other seemingly higher perceptions we may sense in life with melodic and lyrical choices," John said. "While few of my songs are directly about any one situation, I draw from my own reactions to life to write. The absurdity comes from watching the way we sometimes treat each other and deal with situations," he added.
Makes a person want to dive deep into their cup of "joe" and float across the foam listening and letting the world go by. People filter in and out of the coffee shop; tables are occupied with attentive listeners who appreciate an original artist and songwriter. The crowd claps with appreciation and gratitude after John finishes his next song. They clap for a song well sung and a close personal connection to his words.
For John, this is just another intriguing moment spiraling forth a chance to observe humanity. And for what it's worth to him, it might just turn into his next greatest song.
Founder of four-man group
As a solo performer since 2008, many of John's singing and guitar playing performances are in local coffeehouses in Chilton, Appleton and Green Bay. He is also the founder of "The JL4" which means John Lambert and the culmination of four musicians and has extensively traveled and performed throughout this region since 2003.
The JL4 consists of John Lambert; Mike Schultz on guitar, saxophone and vocals; Tim Van Schyndel on drums and vocals; plus Pete Mooney on bass. All of these veterans of rock are Fox Valley and Green Bay area musicians, bringing a variety of influences to the mix. Mike is a competent composer and arranger in his own right, bringing his own brand of creative engineering to Lambert's mastery of pop songwriting. That combination defines the JL4's sound as fresh and ingenious and at the same time comfortably familiar.
John has been said to be "a guitarist who handles the different techniques needed to play both acoustic and electric guitars with ease." He has been the lead guitarist for local groups in the past and has written, performed and directed music for area churches.
John directs his audience in a final song and a heartfelt goodnight. It's getting dark outside and the coffeehouse will be closing soon. He finishes his final set and places his guitar in its case. Tomorrow he'll be off to another performance spilling his soul into the lives of others. Writing and singing about lost loves, his beautiful daughters, appreciating what we have and finding a better place than being stuck in "limbo."
John is full steam ahead, headed to the next coffeehouse.