"Jon Dakota is an American original. Distinctive, idiosyncratic emotionally honest and utterly engaging. His lyrics reflect a lifetime of living and learning - rendered into rough-hewn poetry."
Martin Lewis, Springtime! Production Company



Prine created virtually unimaginable stories and new takes on old stories and with stunningly simple and beautifully crafted lyrics that capture the characters, communicate the story and evoke the feelings. He was a master of the metaphor.
And he was never a slave to accepted song form, for example for Prine the perfect metaphor can be more important than end- of-line rhyme, and adding two additional lyric lines which complete a perfect verse can be more important than consistency in verse length.


Very unique blues artist who, while respectful of and true to traditional blues, incorporates creative elements of world music into his songs. As he says, he is simultaneously both traditional and avant-garde.
His guitar playing often is finger-picking in a different but distinctive thumb and 3rd finger style and his harp playing incorporates traditional cross-harp bending, staccato and chord riffs, but also creative in-place and out-of-place melody notes and chords and off-chords.


I think a reason why people are so drawn to Springsteen’s music is his use of carefully crafted poetic lyrics in story form starkly describing with authenticity and empathy the struggles of the working class and those left behind.
In addition he is socially-politically conscious and active, true to
himself and self-effacing notwithstanding his fame.


A blues artist with a textured bluesy voice capable alternatively, sometimes in the same song, of innovative, evocative interpretations of her own or other blues, folk or pop artists’ songs, coupled with extraordinary guitar and bottle-slide guitar skills.
She is active in a wide range of environmental-social-political areas, and addition has created a non-profit to help provide financial benefits for aging blues artists in financial straits in their retirement.


His genius is to, with simple and economical use of common words, take something that is deeply personal and have it connect and speak to others.
He integrates elements of blues, rock, pop, jazz and other genres into his music and uses phrasing that is slightly ahead or slightly behind the beat to create a distinctive Willy Nelson style.


He was a country-folk-poet who, in a few poetic words, created songs with brilliantly simple and clear descriptions of characters, place, feelings and nuance, and which are also effective because they invite you to use your imagination to fill in what he has left out.


An unconventional Renaissance man, novelist, poet, ordained Buddhist monk and singer-songwriter. He could spend years perfecting songs such as Suzanne and Hallelujah.
He is a good model for me for spending hours wondering about the best order of two words so they can make the best contribution to a song. For example “love and laugh” or “laugh and love” in this song chorus: “You gotta celebrate when you’re up, and survive when you’re down, and L______ and L______ every day, as you meander and stumble along.”


The most eccentric and talented poet-songwriter of our time. Often accurately and bitingly observant, even clairvoyant. Perfect metaphors. Melodies in the black notes.
“I can create [songs with] several orbits [of meaning] that travel and intersect each other and are set up in a metaphysical way.”
“I write songs because certain songs need to be written and


Extraordinary blues harp artist with a distinctive style that merged traditional blues harp styles with his penetrating high- pitched playing including whoops and train-like and fox-hunt-like imitations.
He benefited from co-performing and recording with his long-time friend, Brownie McGhee, who was an accomplished blues artist in his own right. Brownie would sing and play the guitar freeing up Sonny to provide a continuous blues harp voice in songs in addition to his stunning blues harp breaks.
Together they created a form of blues known as the “Piedmont Blues”, an intricate, melodic blues style based on McGhee’s fluid finger-picking guitar.
He played on the albums of many traditional blues artists, such as Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, Blind Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, Big Bill Broonzy and Mississippi John Hurt as well as on albums for others including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte and Johnny Winter.
In addition, remarkably, he acted and played the harp in two Broadway shows, performed in Carnegie Hall and played on the soundtrack for Spielberg’s conscience-jarring film (1985) “The Color Purple” about race and women’s rights, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.


He sings bluesy Americana stories about tough time and hope. His playing is not ego-driven, but lets the song speak for itself. Soft beat-driven guitar plus outstanding harp skills and sometimes a simple foot-beat. Many years ago, Ray showed me how to bend harp note and a few other tricks. Thanks Ray!


He was a R & B / rock harp player with the band, WAR for many years, known especially for his stunning break-away solos, but in addition to that he developed a concept of how, independent of blues breaks, the harp with all of its potential styles of playing and nuances can be a distinctive “voice” in a song..


Harper’s songs are eclectic in the genres of blues, folk, soul, reggae, rock and more, including world music of the Caribbean and Africa inspired in part by Taj Mahal. His songs are artistically brilliant and unique in song form and instrumentation as well as vocals.
Many of his songs, bluntly or woven into them, include a searing demand for social and political justice.
It is an impressive achievement that he has unconventionally forged his own path to success in the music world, on his own terms, true to his values, true to his roots and true to his own musical vision.


Springtime! Productions, L.A.

Martin is a creative marketing-production genius, and also a film producer, playwright, actor, political commentator and more, who has done many very successful projects over the years. He is best known worldwide for creating and producing a major annual fund-raising event for Amnesty International, The Secret Policeman’s Balls, which ran for 6 years and included major rock artists such as McCarthy, Townsend, Sting, Clapton and others and raised over fifty million dollars.
Martin is a friend I have over the years with good advice about my music career, some introspection about current events and always a few good laughs!


Unequivocally the master of the lovesick and forlorn country genre with songs like “Lovesick Blues” and “Your Cheating Heart”, but also he wrote some of the most stunningly beautiful and moving love songs.
He couldn’t read or write music, but was born with the genius to express universal feelings in song with poignant simplicity, both love songs and down-and-out songs, that would connect and resonate with listeners.


Kristofferson is the quintessential intellectual-country singer- songwriter of our time! Intellectual because he is thoughtful, reflective and knows all the words, and country because he can craft a song that resonates with ordinary people and their lives and feelings.
He led the way for other singer-songwriters to add emotional, sexual and social justice dimensions to their songs, and for the music industry to get OK with this.


Her songs are mostly outside of traditional country and fit alternatively in the folk, rock, pop, or Americana genres. They are often songs characterized by tough subject matter re-imagined, and songs written with directness, beautiful economy and use of
sensual details to construct the imagery. Her voice is direct, commanding and passionate, often with a sense of melancholy, and is the perfect voice for her songs and stories.


Billy Blocks’ Western Beat, Nashville

Billy was a tireless promoter of independent musicians, in particular with his weekly live radio-concert show in Nashville. I found him credible when he told me: your songs are good, you’re unique, don’t change anything, don’t copy others, you can make it with work and luck.


Woody grew up in a totally splintered dysfunctional family which amazingly didn’t deter him from charging into a life of low-budget / no budget music and travel around the country.
He wrote songs that were simple, moving, powerful, “color snapshots” about the lives, struggles, daily pleasures and dreams of ordinary people, as well as about the marginalization, oppression and discrimination they suffered.


Without question, he owns the satirical song-writing niche! By example he shows us how to write a funny story-song with a second level of meaning that is sometimes disturbing, and maybe even increases a listener’s awareness.
And also, similar to a satirical song, is a “tongue-in-cheek” comment which doesn’t mean what the words say or has a double meaning and is usually funny.
Randy Newman epitomizes both.


Morrison’s eloquent poetic-rock lyrics were in tune with young people’s dissatisfaction with authority, rebelliousness, philosophical inquiries and the like, but his poetry, independent of rock-song lyrics, was under-appreciated because The Doors rock band success was dominant and because of Morrison’s early death.
I always liked the line from one of his poems that “My poetry aims to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel.”


Nashville Music Guide

A Nashville legend and raconteur who taught me by his example to be positive, have a good laugh often and celebrate life! I remember him greeting me at his door in his bathrobe after a night of the town and a smile on his face with “What’s up, Mate? Come on in!”
He was a song reviewer who saw my potential and believed in me.


Immersed himself for years in and learned the style of blues legends. Then integrated and merged black blues with his own style creating a distinctive unique genre of blues-rock, an unlikely but stunning major step in the evolution of blues music.


One of the most critically acclaimed and respected songwriters in Nashville. He crafted songs slowly and carefully, as he liked to say, like a master carpenter considering how to proceed as he viewed a few planks of rare wood.
Like his friend Townes Van Zandt who he toured with, he also was a country-folk-poet who efficiently created songs with brilliantly simple and clear descriptions of characters, place, feelings and nuance.


Immersed himself for years in and learned the style of blues legends. Then integrated and merged black blues with his own style creating a distinctive unique genre of blues-rock, an unlikely but stunning major step in the evolution of blues music.


Beautifully crafted lyrics and melodies that are engaging and also literate, simple, honest, personally emotional and an eclectic mix of song subjects from romantic and personal to environmental, social justice and more.


Songwriter, Poet, Playwright, Cartoonist, Children’s Book Writer

“Catch the moon. Invite a dinosaur for dinner.” “Have a hippopotamus sandwich.”
“Dream, imagine the impossible, don’t be discouraged by what ifs.”
“If you are a dreamer, wisher, liar, hoper, pray-er, magic bean counter or pretender…come on in…we have some tales to spin.”
Shel Silverstein was an inspiration for my children’s songs including “The Alligator and the Frog”, “Dino-Banano”, and others.


My beautiful wife, actually first on this list!

-Thank you for your love and support of my music career and
your love that knows no bounds.