Live music is back in Laramie and one of the first musical performances to debut after a yearlong break is American roots singer-songwriter Jonathan Foster (“Wildlife,” “Sabbatical”) at The Great Untamed June 12 in downtown.
Foster draws inspiration from a multitude of genres but finds he relates the most to artists like Todd Snider, Warren Zevon and of course Tom Petty.
Foster said he writes for his own catharsis and doesn’t try to target a certain audience or demographic. The beauty of music, especially when it’s performed live, is that it provides a platform upon which an audience can create their own interpretation derived solely from personal experience — a song’s meaning is wholly dependent on how an individual resonates with the energy and imagery of the song.
“They may not see (a song) the same way as me and I don’t necessarily need them to,” Foster said, who added at the end of the day it’s all about a three-four minute song and whether or not it moves someone.
Because Folk-Americana provides artistic freedom for both the musician and listener, it doesn’t leave much room for the mainstream, which isn’t necessarily the audience Foster is writing for.
Foster in many ways writes to preserve the American songwriter history, which takes from other genres such as mountain music, classical blues, jazz, rock, etc. and makes it something new and personal.
When others listen to Foster’s music, he hopes they find the same joy and inspiration he does through the images formed through song.
“I want them to gain what I’ve gotten out of music,” he said, which is a deeper and more relative understanding of the world around him.
“The Dark and the Light” U.S. Tour Summer 2021 begins June 3 in Pacifica, California, and will take Foster to 26 different states where he will perform 70 shows, including one also in Lander. The tour, the biggest he’s ever done, debuts his latest album, Lantern Shade (out of After Hours Recorders in Redding, California) which is somewhat more poignant and personal than previous albums.
“It’s an exploration of the joy and pains, peaks and valleys that seemed like every week (during COVID-19),” Foster said, “It’s a very personal album and most accessible from a listener’s standpoint.”
The 10-song album was written in a span of a few months and came to fruition during the nationwide lockdown.
Like so many others across the country, Foster took to nature and spent an “exuberant” amount of time in the wilderness fishing, camping and hiking, wondering if live musical events would resume again, or if his opportunity to tour had come and gone.
“Then a booking agent contacted me last fall and asked if I was interested in taking a gamble for a reopening in June,” Foster said, adding the general public in his area in California were jazzed to have live music again and hopes Laramie is, too.
“I’m very humbled and grateful to give it another shot knowing not everyone can,” Foster said.