Posted by: suek2001 | September 5, 2014

“Where’d You learn that, John?”

Today is Friday September 5th…Today would have been John Stewart’s 75th birthday…John was a tremendous influence on so many fans, friends and musicians..One area that does not get enough credit is his legacy with the Kingston Trio.

Tonight, The Kingston Trio will be inducted into the Banjo Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City…Perfect timing…

As most of my loyal readers know, I am a huge fan of The Kingston Trio. John’s place in the Trio is well known…their banjo player..that third distinctive voice…and songwriter..

When John joined the Kingston Trio, there was a lot of pressure that had been riding on him. I cannot fathom what it must have been like to join the top folk group in the country..The albums were on everyone’s stereo..MTA..TOM DOOLEY. WORRIED MAN..TIJUANA JAIL…all big hits with Dave Guard on banjo….and the voices and faces of Nick, Bob and Dave were what the public knew…

How was John supposed to compete with that? He didn’t. He was smarter than to try to BE Dave….He brought his spirit..His truth..his banjo style to the Kingston Trio…a big risk..and it paid off…

John brought a new verve to the Kingston Trio…not saying it was better..just as anyone in a band knows, different people bring different personalities and gifts to the corporate sound and feel.

The Kingston Trio could have picked someone that didn’t flow..and the music wasn’t as good…surely, they would have dissapeared within a few years…That would mean NO stellar version of WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE…or the heartbreakingly beautiful WHEN MY LOVE WAS HERE…or the power of forgiveness and strength in REVEREND MR> BLACK…and the sheer optimism of NEW FRONTIER…

All of that would not have entered the musical history books.It was a musical destiny of sorts that the The Kingston Trio would continue on..and make more great banjo riffs..and three part harmonies….and continue to this day in the legacy that John set forth in the Trio Fantasy Camp..where children of fans are now Campers…

John Stewart did all of that…and all while being “the new kid”…He paved the way for Bill Zorn and George Grove and Jim Connor to be that distinctive third voice..and for these men, they truly could bring their own style..their own heart and not try to be Dave Guard..

John would go on to an incredible solo career…Great songs….great perfomances….and a great fan base but too often his time with The Kingston Trio is slightly overlooked on what all it represented…

For that, I give him a long overdue..THANK YOU!

..and a congratulations to The Kingston Trio’s induction into the Banjo Hall of Fame today!



  1. Very Nice Sue. Thanks

  2. Beautiful, Sue.
    I was sitting on the Isle of Iona on Friday and thinking of John. Couldn’t get email until I got home yesterday.


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