Bumbershoot Music Lounge, Day 3: John Vanderslice

It is always a rare pleasure to see this truly original American performer bring out his literate, passionate songs. Though his regional world-view was founded in hoaxes and art-pranks (“Bill Gates Must Die”) John Vanderslice has evolved to be a personal favorite of the smartest critics and fans of the national music scene. As someone who extols the beauty of self-created art in a dark corner of the world (for example, the “Emerald City” of Baghdad in the title track of his most recent LP) Vanderslice is still quite capable of connecting with an audience. This is probably due to his commitment to reality, exemplified by songwriting both beautiful and stark, topical and deeply personal. One of the production geniuses behind Spoon’s phenomenal Gimmie Fiction and a sturdy conspirator with John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, Vanderslice represents one of the vanguard of new United States singer-songwriters everyone wishes was a thousand times more commercially successful than he probably will ever be. It’s just that kind of world.

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