Artist Bio: John Stano

Singer/songwriter John Stano’s sound is a distinctive blend of acoustic and slide guitar, harmonica, expressive vocals and insightful songwriting developed over many years of performance and study. He sometimes adds a little mandolin, cigar box guitar or banjo to the mix as well. His style can be described as a combination of folk, blues and Americana. Initially self-taught, John went on to study American fingerstyle guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and harmonica with national blues legend, Jim Liban. John studied English and creative writing at U.W. Madison. A skillful use of language adds an original spark to his lyrics. ‘Green Man Review’ compared John’s music to early Bob Dylan while ‘Dirty Linen’ was reminded of Country Joe McDonald.  John also performs his own arrangements of folk and country blues classics by artists such as Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt and Bukka White and contemporary writers such as; Gillian Welch, Bob Dylan, Greg Brown, John Prine  and Tom Waits. John is a flexible and engaging performer who works regularly at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues. John has released four recordings of original music.

“His vocal resemblance to John Prine may be a plus for some, but Stano’s songwriting voice is his own, apt for the folksinger’s task of chronicling the local while relating it to the universal.”  The Shepherd Express 

“His guitar just sings-the tone is lovely and his technique is outstanding.” Bay View Compass 

Career Highlights

  • John’s song ‘This Old Guitar’ was a 2020 Great American Song Contest finalist and #2 of 100 most played new single for two months on a combined folk DJ playlist. 
  • John was nominated for a 2019 and 2016 WAMI Folk Artist award and the 2015 WAMI Singer Songwriter of the Year award.
  • John composed and performed the theme and underscore music for a 2019 ‘Seat of Our Pants Theatre’ production of the play ‘Alabama Story’ by Kenneth Jones.
  • John was a 2018 Great River Folk Festival Songwriting Contest Finalist.
  • John won the 2012 Wisconsin Singer Songwriters Series Songwriter of the Year award.
  • In 2012 John represented Wisconsin at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis on historic Beale Street in the solo/duo category.
  • John earned the title of ‘Big Top Chautauqua Songwriter of the Year National Finalist and he performed under the Big Top in 2010.
  • John wrote and performed the soundtrack for a locally produced documentary film called ‘Wisconsin’s and the Civil War’ that aired on Wisconsin Public Television.
  • His songs ‘From A Rusty Cadillac’ and ‘Pontiac’s No More’ were featured on NPR’s ‘Car Talk.’ 
  • His song ‘Dinosaur Bones’ appears on a CD compilation called, ‘A Celebration of Music/Volume 2.’ Series contributors included Les Paul and The Bo Deans.
  • His poetry was published in the Cream City Review, where he was awarded 1st prize for poetry and was also featured in the Wisconsin Poet’s Calendar.
  • He has been a featured guest on many radio programs including WUWM’s ‘Lake Effect’ and Wisconsin Public Radio’s ‘Simply Folk.
  • John has performed at many regional clubs and festivals including; The Cafe Carpe, The Coffee House, Bastille Days, The Paramount Blues Festival, The Shawano Folk Festival, Steel Bridge Songfest and Milwaukee’s Summerfest. John also enjoys playing house concerts such as the Cotter Creek and Turtle Pond  house concert series.