I am a guitarist, a singer and songwriter and I have been blessed to have a life in music and a career as a musician, songwriter and recording artist. It has been almost 50 years since I began playing for people; over fifty since I took up studying guitar. To my mind to have survived this long is amazing.
Born and raised in rural upstate New York, I began playing guitar at 11, took up the bass at 12 and played my first “bar gig” as a member of The Fugitives (always loved that name…) at age 13. Later that same year joined a hard working and popular high school rock band, The Blue Mystics and in 1968 after winning several “Battle of Bands”, The “Mystics” appeared on CBOTs’ “Saturday Date”; the Canadian “American Bandstand“. Heady stuff for a 15 year old!
Along with rock n roll, I played every Sunday as part of an award winning gospel-folk group “David ” and the moretheatrical God Squad. I was a member of the school choir and Canta Sera (evening singers choral group), gigging most every weekend and totally engaged in music. I soon beganwriting and arranging my own songs and began playing them out.
In 1973 I moved west joining the Denver based rock band, Quick. This was the “real deal” and the hard touring “club” experience throughout Colorado and Wyoming (including two weeks in Rock Springs Wyoming, “The most corrupt town in America”, according to CBS’ “60 Minutes”) was a total education in the real world of professional traveling musicians. “Road toughened”, wiser and with an education that can only come from experience, I moved back to the northeast and set out on my own.
With a twelve string guitar, driving the stereotypical “hippie” VW van and inspired by the original acoustic music of the coffeehouse scene I traveled the northeast U.S. playing at hundreds of colleges, coffeehouses, bars and festivals. In 1979 I formed The Racquette River Rounders with Danny Gotham and Michael Hadfield and from 1979 – 1983 and associated with Adirondack Records (Massena NY), I recorded 2 LPs of original and traditional music, produced an LP by jazz guitarist Paul Meyers and served as studio player for a series of regional singer-songwriter albums. The Rounders alter ego The Rolling Clones was never far away. A rock/blues group prone to wild guitar jams, costumes and special mystery guests, The Clones were sometimes beyond description… and led me back once again to my R&R roots.
In 1984 I formed Johnny & The Triumphs, a roots rock/rock- a-billy band and a new sound for my original songs. Our 1987 INDIE release ‘Johnny and the Triumphs’, featured 9 of my songs and reached the top of the American play charts in France, going to #1 in the cities of Bordeaux and Sens. The bands popularity in the northeastern bar and college scene allowed us all the work we could handle including opening shows for James Cotton, Johnny Copeland, The Howlin’ Wolf Band, and others (*see below). Although I still play under this name sometimes, after twelve years and three albums, it was time again for a change.
For the next 4 years beginning in the late fall of 1997 I was back on bass as a member of The McKrells; a unique blend of Celtic tradition, bluegrass, and latin rhythm. The McKrells was a place to experiment with the fusion of musical styles and work with some of the very best musicians in the country. They were elected to The Capital Area Music Association Hall of Fame, have been consistently voted Best Acoustic Band by “Metroland reader polls” and press and were voted “Best Bluegrass Band” by the Northeast Country Music Association in 2000 and 2001.
In 2003 along with several local musicians I began The Southern Adirondack Musicians Fund, a not fot profit oganization commited to helping local and regional musicians who are facing hardships due to health issues. That has been good and rewarding work I still chair the board.
I need to fill in the last 12 years here but suffice to say that for the moment, life and time is full of pretty much the same stuff; I am blessed to play with great musicians, still writing and still learning. Just lately I have been spending a lot of time playing classic (50s-60s) country music with The BlueBillies, singing/playing great americana with The Trophy Husbands , and some serious bluegrass pickin with a studio group loaded with amazing players.
My music has been used on National Public Radio’s ‘Car Talk’, published by CBS and Boptalk Music and gone to the top of The American Play Charts in France. I have performed in Denmark and Norway as well as throughout the US and Canada and have served as opening act for many major artists including *Arlo Guthrie, The J. Geils Band, James Cotton, Joe Cocker, Jorma Kaukonen, Robert Cray, Chubby Checker, John Hammond, Henny Youngman (!), Dave VonRonk, Sha Na Na, Johnny Copeland, Norman Blake, Sam Bush, The Clancy Brothers and others.
…and “it ain’t over ’till it’s over”…
Girl From Iowa – The Bluebillies 2013
Train To Paridise – The Bluebillies 2013
The Blue Wall – Blue Line Recordings 2012
Blue Collar – John Kribs Live Recordings with special guests 2011
Almost Christmas – with Gwen Tracy Blue Line Recordings – 2006
Delia – John with Gwen Tracy and Scott Greene – Blue Line Recordings 2005
Gotham & Kribs with Danny Gotham – Blue Line Recordings 2003
R3- The Racquette River Rounders – Blue Line Recordings- 2001
The McKrells Live – The McKrells – Draguin Records – 2000
Vibratile – John Kribs – Draguin Records 1999
Blues – Johnny & The Triumphs with special guests – Blue Line Recordings 1999
The McKrells Christmas Album – The McKrells – Draguin Records 1999
This Past Year – The McKrells – Two Twins Records – 1998
The Racquette River Rounder Collection – Adirondack Records – 1995
Jump Little Children – Johnny and the Triumphs – Belly Boy – 1988
Johnny and the Triumphs – Belly Boy – 1985
Liberty – The Racquette River Rounders – Adirondack Records 1982
The Racquette River Rounders – Adirondack Records 1980
As a side man…
Luzerne – Danny Gotham
Adirondack Rain – Roy Hurd
Rainbows – Tim Wechalear
Toys In The Attic – Don Golden – Golden Records 1999
Guide My Feet – Magpie and Kim and Reggie Harris – Apple Seed Recordings 1999
Shalom Salaam – Don Golden – Golden Records 1998
Toolshed – Kevin Maul – Mandala Hand – 1997
Blue Heartland – Michael Jerling – Rosebud – 1989
Also For Adirondack Records – 1979-1983 (out of print)
Rich Nardin – Rich Nardin
The Low Road – Kirk Edwards
The Long Night – Tom Serabian
Blues for Henry Miller – Paul Myers (John Kribs- producer)