Darkness and Light
This cd was recorded live off the studio floor. The songs were done in just a few takes with some of John’s favorite co-conspirators on board. The only overdubs were strings, background vocals, and faux horns. Edgey alt-country-blues featuring John’s off the cuff electric guitar soloing.
Musicians on this recording and a few of their career credits:
John Bunzow: Co-Producer, Vocals and Guitars.
Brian David Willis: Co-Producer and Engineer.
Chad Cromwell: Drums (Neil Young, Mark Knopfler).
Larry Marrs: Bass (Marty Stuart).
Richard Bennett: Guitars (Steve Earle, Mark Knopfler).
Dan Dugmore: Pedal Steel Guitar (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Glenn Frey).
Tim Lauer: Keyboards (Nashville session musician).
Anthony Crawford: Background Vocals (Neil Young, Steve Winwood, Dwight Yoakam).
Tammy Rogers: Strings (Steeldrivers, Patty Loveless).
Allison Moorer: Background Vocals (Steve Earle, Shelby Lynne).
Jimmy Hall: Background Vocals and Harp (Jeff Beck, Wet Willie).
Recorded at Deep Field Studios, Nashville, TN
Mixed by Ray Kennedy
Love Is The Only Rescue
It’s been so long since she left me
I’m still drinkin’ from the bottle of despair
Double shots of regret goin’ straight to my head
My heart is empty as the bartender’s stare
I’ll be dead drunk before this night is through
Stranded where love is the only rescue
Time is a harsh companion
So uncaring and cruel
It keeps reminding me of how I used to be
Now I’m ripped as the cushion on this barroom stool
Where I sip on the cold hard truth
Stranded where love is the only rescue
Where love is the only rescue
The poison of self-pity
Has finally been flushed out of me
In the new morning light
Hope is gleamin’ in my eyes
And the waitress in the café is actin’ might friendly
She tells me she’s off work at two
Funny how suddenly life reaches out to you
Standing where love can come to my rescue
Standing where love can come to my rescue
Please come to my rescue
Pieces On The Ground
Mend this broken body in pieces on the ground
My spirit’s cracked and crumbled, my world’s been crashing down
The weight upon my shoulders got so heavy they just gave in
Till I could not lift my head up to face another day again
Let a ray of hope come shining
So I may look up at the sky
And see a glimpse of tomorrow
Where I’m standing in the light
Let me climb upon a hilltop
Where healing hands can touch me now
They will mend this broken body
In pieces on the ground
The human heart’s a fragile thing, it shatters just like glass
Gather up all of these splinters and crush them into grains of sand
So the wind may scatter them towards the angels looking down
They will mend this broken body in pieces on the ground
Here I am chasin’ trains
Drivin’ down a lost highway
Locomotive on the tracks
Tell me where’s my baby at
How could she leave me this way
Confused hell bent and half crazed
Thought I saw her get on board
Why did she have to go
There she was dressed in black
A ghost out of my past
I’m goin’ over the edge
Whistle howlin’ in my head
Smoke and steel on the track
Heartless cold and black
Forty tons of misery
Bearin’ right down upon me
I broke through the crossin’ gate
Stopped my car on the tracks to wait
Locomotive deliver me
From this cruel insanity
“The swampy roots-country groove of the leading track “Love is the Only Rescue” suggests more than a live basement studio recording from a Portland, Oregon native with a kick ass band. It cuts through to the soul to suggest that there is one heck of a great record to follow. And it does deliver the goods! Darkness and Light expresses solid songwriting through an organic and vibrant direct to tape performance. Bunzow’s songs easily sway from rich country rumblers and ballads to blues-infused stingers. Imagine Buddy Miller with hints of Robbie Fulks in his easier moments. Years of performance experience (he’s slung guitar for Chris Knight and Allison Moorer) and noteworthy critical praise as a Nashville songwriter are quite evident here. An unlucky label dissolve in ’96 put one potential release back in the can, but we’re sure that Darkness and Light will bring John Bunzow the success he deserves.”
Miles of Music
“Nashville-by-way-Portland singer/songwriter John Bunzow’s Darkness and Light is a blues-infused roots-rock record, a well-produced collection of eleven songs rooted in tradition; yet stylistically and lyrically, it offers up more than your average roots-rock record. The dusty country grooves alongside this burning rock n’ roll fever catapulted by Bunzow’s love for blues and R&B, make this a rich, lively album to sink yourself into as Bunzow wins you over song after song.”
“From free-for-all rock ‘n’ roll jaunts to tender, laid back numbers, Bunzow covers the gamut, opening up himself to you through the music. Meanwhile, he keeps things cohesive enough that you know its him, but diverse enough to ensure you don’t grow tired or weary of the album. The result is a fine-tuned, strong piece of roots-rock that will put a smile on your face and give you at least one reason to believe that Nashville hasn’t killed the soul of roots music. I’ll give it an A-.”
Alex Steinberg, In Music We Trust
Issue Fifty-Two/September 2002
“This roots rocker shows his influences without being held back by them. This guitar-driven disc at times displays a wide variety of influences – from Albert King to Dylan, early Carl Perkins to Jerry Reed – sometimes in one song. It is a melting pot of eclecticism as far as the songwriting and guitar playing is concerned. His tunes carry much of that twang that is associated with hillbilly rock & roll, but it comes across through a filter of the ’60s/’70s music scene that was percolating just under the horizon of FM music. He wrote or co-wrote all the tunes on this disc and each one is a good fit. He has the nasally vocals and the jangly guitars that sell each song as part of the whole. He has a variety of tunes, from the rocker that opens the disc, “Love Is the Only Rescue,” through the funky “Muddy Water Under the Bridge,” and there are some heartbreak pieces and a few that just won’t fit any category. He also has some great help on this disc, including Allison Moorer, Richard Bennett, and Jimmy Hall. This is a strong disc that rips into each new song with a strong ferocity that brings the song home. You should hear more from John Bunzow in the future.”
Bob Gottlieb, All Music Guide
“…Both musically and lyrically, Bunzow has an impressive grasp of his craft and such a strong and unique voice, and his songs are defined both by their diversity and the distinct sense of unity running through them. Themes of disillusionment, new found hope, distrust and making a new start are more than common in folk music, and it’s a sign of Bunzow’s talents that he tackles these subjects respectfully and in a refreshing manner….on the whole Bunzow has made a stunningly passionate and refreshingly contemporary country album.”
Stein Haukland, Ink 19
“Never heard of this Bunzow character before, but after this CD I’ll be damned if I forget him. Starting off with a loping, guitar-busy Dave Edmunds-sounding track (Love is the Only Rescue) turned on it’s side by his Robbie Fulks-like vocals, Bunzow begins his disc in fine stead. You might not believe me when I say it gets better from there, shit, I’m not sure I believe it myself, but it does. It doesn’t hurt that Bunzow has drafted such talents as Dan Dugmore (session vet and player on Linda Ronstadt’s best tracks from the 70’s) on pedal steel and Allison Moorer on harmony vocals. Despite Bunzow being a flash guitar player wiht plenty of tasty licks, his vocals and find songs are what carry the day and the guitar solos never once take away from the fact that this is a country record. Sure,its got a Southern rock vibe happening but this is one country boy who’s unashamed of his roots. A damn fine, damn fine CD.”
Bill Frater, Freight Train Boogie
“…we should keep an eye on John Bunzow, and I, for one, will go out of my way to see him live.”
“John’s CD is among the best I’ve heard these last months! Consider me a fan.”
Paul van Gelder, GEEN TIJD/Varas Radio 1
“It’s the kind of record that belongs in the upper regions of the Americana/Roots charts.”
Theo Oldenburg, ALT.COUNTRY COOKING, Radio Winschoten
“This is how roots music is supposed to be. John Bunzow is the best hidden talent I know.”
Roel Stabler, Music Director, Radio MG