It was a Sunday night in February 1964 when The Beatles first performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. I was just a kid, but after that night nothing was the same. Within a year I had saved enough money to buy my first instrument. My folks were so impressed that I had shown the initiative to acquire an instrument on my own that they helped me buy my first amp. (A Silvertone, of course!) My first band was formed within weeks of becoming 'armed'. And it's never stopped. Life has always been music and music has been life for me. Rock and Roll was first. Then came Classical Guitar. Funky music. Jazz. Folk. Electric guitar. Classical guitar. Acoustic guitar. 12-string. Electric bass. Upright bass.
I've been moved by Leadbelly, Bob Dylan, Howlin' Wolf, Miles Davis, Van Morrison, Christopher Parkening, Woody Guthrie. I've shared stages with Richie Havens, Luciano Pavarotti, Tommy Makem, Carmen Dragon, Jeff Pevar and Paul Speer. I was a member of The Highwaymen for 20 amazing years. I've played Lincoln Center in Manhattan and a high school in Spearfish, South Dakota. A prom in Bovill, Idaho, and the Coronado Hotel in San Diego. Alan Dershowitz's summer home on Martha's Vineyard and the Picolo Teatro in Siena, Italy where some wunderkind named Mozart once played.
I'm a lucky guy! I'm no longer on the road much. But I perform regularly at the Riverside Hotel in Boise. And I have a recording studio, JoTown Records (where The Highwaymen recorded The Water of Life, A Celtic Collection). A current passion is spontaneous improvisation with my sister Rifka Helton, she on keyboards and me on 12-string guitar and a lovely old Gibson ES175 with a Charlie Christian pickup. Then there is the terz guitar that luthier Thomas Harper made for me...
I also take photographs. I love wandering the mountains and deserts of Idaho, and almost always have my Nikon with me. If you check out the galleries of photos you can see what I've seen and listen to some of my music while you look.
Thanks for stopping by! Johann Helton