Out On His Own Ear Full John Canjar puts out solo (sort of) album By Randy Shemanski You probably know who John Canjar is, but might not realize it. He's a regular on the local music circuit thanks to gigs as a guitarist and backup vocalist with Nowhere Slow and Morning Pride, as well as playing somewhat regular solo acoustic shows at various bars and clubs. If you pay a lick of attention to the live music when you're out, you've surely noticed Canjar's talent, whether it's his skills on guitar or his voice, which often sounds strikingly similar to Max Collins of Eve 6. Up until now, Canjar has been best known for his work with those two talented and popular groups. But Canjar recently stepped out alone, sort of, to complete his first solo album, Chamber Music, an 11-song disc that features a few of his band mates and plenty of diversity. "I've been writing songs since I was a teenager, toward the end of high school," Canjar told ec/dc. "I just never got around to recording them because I got into other bands and doing other things. ... The time of recording was actually a year or a little more than a year. But really the actual recording time was about three weeks, it was just all spread out over that year." The album reflects a variety of influences for Canjar. He mentioned The Beatles, Sublime, Jack Johnson and Dispatch, plus his bandmates Mike Mizwinski, Jason Chase and Matt Kester in Morning Pride and Rick Gillette, Will Clauss and Jeff Hertzog. "I love different kinds of bands. It's like I get into a band full force and I'll end up listening to everything I can find by that one band," he said. "Then, usually from listening to some band for quite a while, I'll end up writing something that reflects what I've been listening to." The Sublime influence appears heavy, including on "Concatenation (She's Alright)" and "Insensible". But Chamber Music isn't just ska-punk rock from the Sublime or Cake mold. "Be Mine," the ninth track on the album, is a slow acoustic tune that features Canjar's voice above his guitar, some keyboards and a few other backing instruments. That's followed by "Matter of Time," another relaxing acoustic song not quite out of the Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz mold, yet enjoyable just the same. The first two songs on the CD, "I'm With The Band" and "To Yourself," will be familiar to Morning Pride fans. Both songs were originally cut for a Morning Pride album, but when Mizwinski got a full-time gig with Gongzilla, the band was unable to complete the album. So Canjar, who authored the songs, decided to put them on his solo album with some help from the guys in Morning Pride. "We did 'I'm With the Band' and that ended up different from the way we originally laid it down," Canjar said of the two alt/rock songs. "The second track 'To Yourself,' that's right from one of the first times we went in there when we thought we were making a Morning Pride album." ... check out Canjar live and find out why Nowhere Slow and Morning Pride fans can't get enough of the guy.
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