The Traverse City-based guitarist’s latest indie-rock collaboration with Jake Myers was inspired by the “scenic imagery” of northern Michigan. Listen to tracks from the album.
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There’s a lilting, psychedelic pop flavor permeating the indie-rock on “John Piatek & Friends,” along with a splash of musical experimentation.
For Aquinas College graduate and Traverse City guitarist-singer John Piatek, 25, the 10-track album represents the latest step in a journey that began at the age of 12 when he performed for an audience for the first time on a porch overlooking Spider Lake.
Since then, he’s traveled the Pacific Northwest, “compulsively” written original songs, studied jazz guitar at Aquinas in Grand Rapids and recorded an album with the Traverse City group, the Persons.
In 2019, Piatek began writing and recording material with fellow songwriter and visual artist Jake Myers, eventually releasing an EP in 2020 and following that in July 2021 with the full-length “John Piatek & Friends.”
The duo’s musical influences weave their way throughout the collection, with Piatek explaining that the pair has “a mutual respect for Brian Wilson (of The Beach Boys), The Black Keys, Steely Dan and a variety of rock, pop and jazz artists.”
LISTEN: “Lean Back”
“The songs were built upon the rock format of (the EP). The lyrics are full of reminiscent stories of young adulthood, friendships and love, and scenic imagery drawn from the landscapes of northern Michigan,” he added, noting the songs are based on “observation and personal experience.”
The duo independently recorded, produced, designed and self-distributed the album, then established a new recording studio in Kalkaska where Piatek says they have “more space” to explore their ideas as they “find themselves coming of age” musically.
He said the music pays homage to his upbringing, “surrounded by classic rock and the blues through the intricate guitar work supporting the songs.”
Piatek has “already returned to feverishly writing and recording” just two months after releasing the duo’s latest album and is “cautiously optimistic” about booking future shows to support that and subsequent releases.
John Piatek & Friends will play free shows at Acoustic Tap Room in Traverse City on Oct. 1 and Nov. 5, with proceeds from merchandise sales supporting the Cherryland Humane Society.
“We feel incredibly fortunate for the vibrant and supportive northern Michigan music community we have around us,” Piatek said, adding that the duo is eager to establish even “more connections” within that robust scene which continues to grow.
“We envision a very positive future for local original music in northern Michigan, as an increasing amount of local acts have become nationally known names and the community continues to fervently support their local artists.
“We believe we are only beginning to see the emergence of a diverse and talented cadre of local artists.”
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