13 essential john vanderslice

I cannot take credit for becoming a John Vanderslice fan organically. That would be treasonous. The truth be told is that his music was brought to my attention during the early stages of my relationship with my wife. This was back when I thought the only music that mattered was pop punk. These were the days that I stubbornly refused to like anything but that. The year was 2004.

Thank God for maturity and the realities of evolutionary musical taste.

First exposure to JV was on a mix CD given to me from my more-hip-to-good-music-than-I wife, and it was admittingly an acquired taste. Songs on that disc made my ignorant pretentious self quickly say “I no like”, but in retrospect… I was wrong. Very wrong. So allow me to briefly say “thank you, Nicole” for bringing to my attention the music that broadened my listening habits.

My adoration of JV songs was not immediate. I’d have to say that it was gradual at best. Though the tipping point of my “all-in” enthusiasm was when we went to see him live at Tokyo Garden in Downtown Fresno. This was sometime during 2007, shortly after we got married, and it was literally one of the best live shows I’ve ever been to. Closing out the night we all surrounded John Vanderslice in the middle of Fulton St and he played his acoustic guitar while leading us all in song. It was beautiful. It was like no other moment experienced while at a live show.

Since that show in Downtown Fresno I had familiarized myself with all the old JV and anticipated each new album thereafter.

…and from his entire collection of songs, these are my favorite thirteen.


13 | after it ends

white wilderness

12 | time travel is lonely

time travel is lonely

11 | exodus damage

pixel revolt

10 | bill gates must die

mass suicide occult figurines

9 | C & O canal

romanian names

8 | too much time

romanian names

7 | plymouth rock

pixel revolt

6 | numbered lithograph

emerald city

5 | the parade

emerald city

4 | peacocks in the video rain

pixel revolt

3 | underneath the leaves

life and death of an american fourtracker

2 | white dove

emerald city

1 | me and my 424

life and death of an american fourtracker


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