Batdorf recorded Next Stop, Willoughby in his Central Oregon-based home studio over the course of the last six months. The project was inspired by Paul McCartney’s first one-man-band solo record in 1970. “Normally I recruit other musicians/singers to be a part of the album but this time I decided to do it all myself. I loved Paul McCartney's first solo record in 1970 where he pretty much did the same. So as I approach age 65, I figured now was the time.”
In his four-decade career, Batdorf has worked with many of the cornerstone figures of the music business as an artist, including Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Clive Davis, Adele, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer, Dwight Yoakum, David Lee Roth, and Mötley Crüe; garnered cult status as a classic folk-rock singer-songwriter of the bands Batdorf & Rodney and Silver; and reinvented himself as a successful film and TV composer, session vocalist, and inspirational musician in the substance recovery community.
In the last decade, he has returned to being an artist: reinvigorated not only by revisiting his canon classics but by writing fresh, broadly resonate music on par with his beloved back catalog.
“Music is just what I do, I don’t know anything else,” he says with a good-natured laugh. “There have been so many powerful moments for me. I remember one time performing my contemporary song ‘All for You’ which is about a soldier who in battle realizes he couldn’t win and just asks that his country remembers him. After that show, an older couple hung around to say hello. Their son had died in December of 1970, in Laos during the Vietnam War, and they wanted me to have his government issued commemorative bracelet. That moment reminded me: I’m never done with music because you never know who needs to hear the next song you’re going to write.”
John’s breakthrough moment came as a part of the folk-rock duo, Batdorf & Rodney, alongside acoustic guitar whiz and harmony partner Mark Rodney. John was the pair’s primary songwriter and singer, and his balmy musicality and tenderly uplifting lyrics fit right in alongside 1970s Laurel Canyon scene artists such as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jackson Brown, the Eagles, and Joni Mitchell. Batdorf & Rodney had the distinction of being recorded by visionaries such as Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, and Clive Davis. The twosome played Carnegie Hall and toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada, sharing the stages with such esteemed artists as America, Seals and Crofts, Dan Fogelberg, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, Bread, The Youngbloods, Hall and Oats, Cheech and Chong, John Prine, Dave Mason, Kris Kristofferson, and many others. In its four-year run, Batdorf & Rodney released three albums. The group’s debut, Off The Shelf (Atlantic), was released when Batdorf was barely 19 years old.
In late 1975, Batdorf & Rodney broke up and John formed the band Silver, composed of Brent Mydland (later a member of the Grateful Dead), Harry Stinson, Tom Leadon and Greg Collier. The band released one album on Arista Records which included the smash hit "Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang,” which this summer, after some 40 years, has been enjoying a renaissance as part of the 70s mixtape in the new movie and soundtrack, Guardians Of The Galaxy ll.
In the realm of film and TV incidental music, he’s lent his voice and compositional skills to beloved shows such as Tom and Jerry Kids, Garfield and Friends, Touched By An Angel, Promised Land, and Doctor, Doctor, and Book of Days. In 2013, he joined Adele’s select group of backup singers to perform her smash “Let The Sky Fall” at the Oscars.
In recent years, John has been prolific as an artist, reconvening Batdorf & Rodney for a pair of releases; releasing an epiphanic album of acoustic Rolling Stones music with James Lee Stanley titled All Wood and Stones; and releasing six solo albums of new music since 2004 on his own imprint, BATMAC MUSIC. One powerful entry in John’s modern era work is his four releases with legendary Utah-based singer, composer, and filmmaker, Michael McLean. The two first started working together in 1991, and officially formed Batdorf & McLean in 1997. The duo launched a unique substance abuse survival platform and released the CD Soundtrax2Recovery. Batdorf & McLean have crafted an empowering body of music to inspire and enlighten individuals making the profound journey back from dependency. Their appearances combine heartfelt real life storytelling sprinkled in between their impactful catalog of tunes.
Through his many successful reinventions and working with the industry’s finest within each context, John surveys his legacy: “My whole life I’ve strived to do the best I possibly could and help people along the way with the talent I was blessed to be born with. That's all we can really ever ask of ourselves.”
Summer Tour Dates:
Jun 24 Sparks House Concerts Medford, OR
Jul 22 Words and Music Series Vaughn, WA
Sep 22 Traditions Café Olympia, WA
Sep 23 Peninsula Arts Center Long Beach, WA
Sep 30 Parrot Delaney Tavern New Hartford, CT
Oct 1 Orangeburg Library Orangeburg, NY
Oct 6 Our House Concert Series Manhattan, KS
Oct 7 Wildwood Springs Lodge Steelville, MO
Oct 16 COD Yakima, WA
Oct 21 Living Tradition Anaheim, CA