Stories of the Years | Liberty Records | 1996
This record was recorded in 1996 while John was on the Liberty/Capitol Records label. It features country rock and stone country music from his only major label recording.
“Ex-house painter John Bunzow throws formula country songwriting out the window on his arresting debut Stories of the Years. Blending an amiable tenor with economy of language and the minimalistic production of Dwight Yoakam collaborator Pete Anderson, Bunzow makes no secret of his influences — Tom T. Hall on the title song, Merle Haggard on ”Poison Mem’ries” — but uses them merely as jumping-off points for an inventive romp. Grade: A”
Alanna Nash, Entertainment Weekly
“…folks who actually heard the album were surprised to discover a refreshingly direct, no-nonsense record that had more in common with Steve Earle’s best work than any dance-club pretty boys. The CD’s opener, “Desolation Road,” starts things off right with a kickin’ rhythm section and propulsive slide guitar that’s perfectly matched to Bunzow’s mournful delivery. His vocals get even better on ballads, and producer Pete Anderson smartly chooses sparse arrangements that are still interesting enough to complement, rather than just support, the songs. … Bunzow’s songs are of a consistently high quality… be it a surprising melodic twist or a memorable turn of phrase.”
Pemberton Roach, All Music Guide
“A songwriter’s writer, John Bunzow could be the catalyst in Nashville’s eventual shift out of hyper-hat mode. Stories Of The Years is one hell of an impressive debut from this Portland, Oregon native who spent some years doin’ the Nashville thing before laying down an impressive demo that caught the ears and interest of producer Pete Anderson. A shot of James Taylor mixed with a twinge of Dwight Yoakam’s nasal twang, Bunzow’s voice is a most pleasant blend, bringing conviction to the country rockers “Muddy Water Under The Bridge,” “Ain’t No Little Thing” and my pick to click, “Easy As One, Two, Three.” Bunzow writes real honest country songs that don’t get lost in any pop sensibilities. One run through “Poison Mem’ries” hammers that point home. With a natural ability to convey the stories and characters of his songs with such ease, be it the trucker in the opening “Desolation Road” or the closing title track, John Bunzow is bound for a very bright future. ”
Musicians on this recording and a few of their career credits:
John Bunzow: Vocals and Guitars.
Pete Anderson: Producer, Arranger, Guitar (Dwight Yoakam, Steve Forbert).
Dusty Wakeman: Bass (Lucinda Williams, Los Lobos).
Jeff Donavan: Drums (Palladins, Dwight Yoakam).
Dean Parks: Guitars (Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, Willie Nelson, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon).
Al Perkins: Steel Guitar and Dobro (Eagles, Gram Parsons, Flying Burrito Brothers, Emmylou Harris).
Lenny Castro: Percussion (Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Randy Newman, George Benson, BB King, Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer).
Anthony Crawford: Background Vocals (Neil Young, Steve Winwood, Dwight Yoakam).
Skip Edwards: Keyboards (Dwight Yoakam, Johnny Rivers).
Gary Ogan: Harmony Vocals (Leon Russell).
Recorded at Mad Dog Studios, Venice, CA
Recorded by Michael Dumas, Dusty Wakeman and Ray Blair
Mixed by David Leonard
All songs written by John Bunzow except Muddy Water Under The Bridge by John Bunzow & Harry Stinson.