We have a revealing camera angle from a Hutch live session to thank for this insight, but John Klemmensen’s left arm bears a quote from Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho:
“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Now, if you were going to take the quote entirely superficially, you could say, “Stop it. If that were true there wouldn’t be hardly any John Klemmensen songs.”
True, the Omaha singer-songwriter, and bandleader of John Klemmensen and the Party, has made his local listenership touting a hyper-honest kind of heartbreak. In how many troubled, yet beautiful, ways can he express that he can’t have what he wants?
But let’s consider the quote from Coelho’s The Alchemist as an experiential idea instead.
There’s a universe happening inside John Klemmensen songs where remarkable melodic acumen, a tender voice and the blunt force trauma of his lyrics conspire to express something so tonally sound, you’d think someone cheated. If expression is the aim, there’s a brilliant kind of synergy happening.
You can hear Klemmensen’s work across a wide sampling of SoundCloud and Bandcamp demos which capture the intimacy of his writing, but also in the harrowing themes and beautiful orchestration of his 2013 album Songs I’ll Never Play. True to the title, he doesn’t play them, though I’d highly recommend you read the story of the album in my co-host Jacob Zlomke’s fantastic and candid profile. And this year, Klemmensen and company are setting their sights on an even sonically larger album, a forthcoming full-length we’ll chat about some tonight.
And, worth a quick note, the wind beneath the lyrics’ wings is the range, purity and depth of Klemmensen’s voice. It defies the artifice of deliberate vocal falls or the feeling of going for something soulful. It’s an honest-to-goodness, naturalistic Irish tenor.
And we’re so pleased to be able to hear it tonight in the studio. You can see John Klemmensen and the Party on Nov. 29 at The Waiting Room with Satchel Grande and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, but right now they join us live on Hear Nebraska FM.