John Butler Trio on being Australia's Dave Matthews Band
In Australia, the roots band John Butler Trio are as massively popular as Dave Matthews Band is here. In the country that actually gave birth to Dave though, he might be lost among the glut of imitators.
But founder John Butler, who has already opened for Dave Matthews several times, said their three albums should hold an appeal beyond fans of the popular jam band.
“We just want to play to anybody who wants to listen,” said leader John Butler. “We don’t really have personal borders when it comes to music.”
On Sunday, Butler, drummer Nicky Bomba and bassist Byron Luiters will perform at Rams Head Live to promote their new album, “April Uprising.”
The band, which specializes in upbeat songs that straddle reggae and alt rock, has been together since 1998 in one form or another, and have two platinum albums to their name in their native Australia.
They’ve been touring America since the early 2000s, where they have found support in headliners like Matthews and John Mayer. Before coming to Baltimore, they’ll even open four shows for for Matthews.
Though they have found limited commercial success here — their highest selling single is 2004’s “Sunrise Over Sea,” which sold 128,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan —they’ve been highly popular on the American festival circuit.
Butler said crowds here are easier than back home.
“Americans are pretty enthusiastic right from the get go,” he said. “Australians take a little bit more warming up, but Americans are always ready to go.”
The trio played Lollapalooza last year, and Austin City Limits twice in the past. In June, they played Bonnaroo to promote their new album.
Butler started working on “April Uprising” in April of last year and finished it three months later. He said he had lofty ambitions for the track "Revolution," which went through four different choruses before settling on a composition he described as “anthemic and personal.”
“That song succinctly sums up the world as I see it today,” he said. “There’s a lot of going down in the planet at the moment and I thought I’d capture those moments in one fell swoop.”
If you go: John Butler Trio performs Sunday at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. Call 410-244-1131 or go to ramsheadlive.com.
Photo: Big Hassle Media