John’s Bio

The trademark of singer/songwriter John Stano’s sound is a distinctive blend of acoustic and slide guitar, harmonica and expressive vocals 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.  ‘Sing Out’ compared John’s music to early Bob Dylan while ‘Dirty Linen’ was reminded of Country Joe McDonald.  John studied English and creative writing at U.W. Madison.  A skillful use of language adds an original spark to his lyrics.  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; John Prine, Bob Dylan, Greg Brown, Leo Kottke, Gillian Welch and Tom Waits. John is a flexible and engaging performer who works regularly at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues.  John has received numerous arts grants to present blues history, harmonica, ukulele and song writing classes in the Milwaukee Public Schools and public and private colleges such as Waukesha County Technical College and Mount Mary University.  He also teaches guitar, harmonica, banjo and other acoustic instruments privately. 

Career Highlights

  • John was nominated for a 2016 WAMI Folk Artist award and the 2015 WAMI Singer Songwriter of the Year award.
  • John won the Wisconsin Singer Songwriters Series Songwriter of the Year award.
  • John represented Wisconsin in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis on historic Beale Street in the solo/duo category after winning the regional competition.
  • John earned the title of ‘Big Top Chautauqua Songwriter of the Year National Finalist and he performed under the Big Top.
  • 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, ‘Caribou Bar & Grill was featured on NPR on Michael Feldman’s ‘Whadya Know?’ radio program.
  • 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.  His poetry was also printed in the Wisconsin Poet’s Calendar and the Shepherd Express.
  • He has been a featured guest on several radio programs including; WUWM’s ‘Lake Effect,’ Wisconsin Public Radio’s  ‘Simply Folk’  and Riverwest Radio’s ‘Sessions with Sandy’ programs.
  • John performs regularly at many regional clubs including; The Cafe Carpe, Louie’s Coop and The Coffee House. He has entertained audiences at 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 concert series.