John Osczajca

Artist: John Oszajca

CD:  Elephant Graveyard


From Los Angeles comes one rocker known as John Oszajca who released his Elephant Graveyard CD back in 2077. Right from the start it might be easy to just categorize Oszajca as some trendy The Black Keys type artist trying to get his foot in the door. It wouldn’t be wise, though.

Once you take your search to the internet it will reveal much about this guy. I get the impression he was one artists that set out on his own because he was a bit frustrated with the music business as a whole and I don’t think he’s alone. Oszajca represents all that is good about Independent Music. Just listen to a few notable standout songs within this 10 song line-up like (No Turning Back), (Baby Bye Bye) and (Sinkin’ In) and you will see why this guy is how he is. Indeed there’s much that lies beneath the surface and no doubt there’s a method to their madness.

First: there are some really rocking pieces on this CD that really step outside the traditional musical boundaries on the Radio right now. Second: Oszajca has a hot marketable look and sound that is very compatible with Radio airplay. Third: It’s nice to know good musicianship and good song-writing is possibly making a com back. All of the above enhances the listening experience for me rather than limit it. John began the road to making ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD in the fall of 2005 with a phone call to producer Dave Darling, founding member of the critically acclaimed group Boxing Ghandi’s and producer of such artists as Brian Setzer, Meredith Brooks, Sprung Monkey, and Echo Brain. Frustrated with his major label experiences John wanted to return to what he felt he had always done best.

“I began making music as a teenager, just making the kind of music that I love. That sort of roots/country/folk thing, but with contemporary lyrics and a more experimental sound…”Oh Brother Where Art Thou” on acid. At the time I didn’t even know who, if anyone, was gonna put the record out. But I knew I needed to record it. I felt like it was the record I should have always made. I scraped together my own money, called my producer Dave and asked him if he wanted to make a record. Three Weeks later Elephant Graveyard was born”.

It must have been fate because when a major-label-weary Oszajca called a meeting with movie producer Ryan Page (Moog, Lords Of Chaos, What is it, and now founder of Dreamy Draw Music) with the secret plan of convincing Ryan to start a record label with him on which to release Johns passion project ELEPHANT GRAVEYARD, the first words out of Ryan’s mouth upon entering the meeting were, “say, did I tell you I started a record label?” On this CD you will hear straight up Alternative Rock and R&B type rock to melodic Alternative Rock Pop Folk Singer/Songwriter. The true genius of Oszajca really shines through via a highly diversified collection of music. BTW Oszajca is a great front man but he’s no one trick pony either. He’s also and great guitarist and effective vocalist/songwriter clearly at the professional level whatever angle you look at him. Perhaps all this and more that is why he’s on our Radar screens in the first place.

Forgive me if I’m talking in circles – but some bands can deliver music that’s pretty straight forward, conservative and painfully simple. Then there are other musicians who will go down a much different path and deliver music that shines bright like a priceless diamond amongst the lackluster. In lieu of Elephant Graveyard’s addictive musical personality and impressive string of songs it almost feels as if Oszajca is really on to something special. This is a one of a kind CD that’s closely tied to classic Americana Soul Rock music that millions love. I hate to pigeonhole but I can hear a Cry of Love, Widespread Panic, Marc Ford, Golden Smog, The Autumn Defense, Son Volt, Warren Haynes and The North Mississippi All-stars meshed with their songs.

My only criticism – I strongly feel the album cover needs to have him in it. Also with my marketability hat on perhaps a name like Johhny “O” (similar to Kenny G) would be a better more marketable fit for mainstream success.

It’s true that many bands start off sounding like another act in some way, shape of form only to develop a trademark sound later in order to get their career moving. None of this applies to Oszajca. His sound is highly original yet very marketable in scope.

Score: 5/5

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Christian Vedder edited by Joshua Beach

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