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 could be described as acoustic folk-blues or 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.  Besides his own songs, John also performs his own arrangements of urban and country blues classics, instrumentals and contemporary songs, covering music by artists such as; John Prine, Bob Dylan, Greg Brown, Little Walter, Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, John Fahey, Gillian Welch, Leo Kottke and Tom Waits.  John is a flexible and engaging performer who works regularly at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues.  He also teaches guitar, harmonica, banjo and other acoustic instruments privately  and has received numerous arts grants to present blues history, harmonica performance, ukulele and song writing classes in the Milwaukee public schools and private institutions such as Mount Mary College and Waukesha County Technical College.

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 for 2013.
  • John represented Wisconsin in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis on historic Beale Street in the solo/duo category in 2012 after winning the regional competition.
  • John was a ‘Big Top Chautauqua Songwriter of the Year National Finalist for 2010’ 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, 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 ‘Hotel Milwaukee’ and ‘Simply Folk’ 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, Waukesha Blues Festival, Steel Bridge Songfest and Summerfest; was part of the Wisconsin Singer-Songwriters Series and Bay View’s Chill on the Hill.