By O’Hara Shipe
There’s an old adage that necessity is the mother of invention. In the case of Palmer-based singer-songwriter John Budnik, a band breakup mixed with an inspirational album from Sturgill Simpson was the necessity that sparked his new solo album, “Messenger.”
“I just got to the point where I thought, ‘fuck it, I don’t have a band, but that’s fine. I’ve got a computer and some equipment, so I’m just going to go for it and let the album be a reflection of where I’m at musically,” Budnik says.
As a graduate of both UAA’s philosophy and journalism programs, Budnik is adept at writing. But when it came to adding instrumentation to his lyrics, he had to dig a little deeper.
“Of course, I would have loved to have a bunch of session musicians at my disposal, but I didn’t, so I leaned into the tools I did have, like built-in modeling amps, to make something new,” Budnik says.
He acknowledges that some may frown upon his use of programmed drum beats and computer-generated guitar effects. Still, he says that he makes no apologies for how he made the album.
The upshot of Budnik’s strategy is that he was able to work at his own pace and hone in on a sound that is uniquely his own.
What he ended up with was a departure from the 2017 album, “Transformations,” that he penned with his former band. In this case, the departure is a sonic delight that combines the observational storytelling of Bob Dylan with synth-rock beats. Essentially, Budnik’s sophomore album is the perfect soundtrack for long summer drives down Turnagain Arm.
“Messenger” and “Transformations” are currently available to stream on SoundCloud.com/John-Budnik.