John Witmer III

Have written about the late Canadian blues singer John Witmer here, and Gerry Wand has written about him here. His legacy is preserved by Larry Smith, bass player and producer, who was in two bands with John Witmer and who continues to remind people, via YouTube and otherwise, of the incredible music that these bands produced. Larry recently made me aware of this one:

Another unrecognized classic. Wish that somebody would put together The Essential John Witmer on CD, with companion release on iTunes or similar. Plus wider distribution for all the material that Larry Smith has. I know of at least two CDs issued via Larry Smith that merit much wider distribution.

If not done in next couple of years or so, would hope to be in a position to step up.

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4 Responses to John Witmer III

  1. Gerry Wand says:

    Of course John’s voice is great on this track and, as usual, he sings with such depth and emotion. Nicely arranged song as well; great feel.

    John was fun to be around, but when he opened his mouth to sing, it was a whole different ballgame. He sang from the heart and deep in his soul. There was a lot of big hurt in his voice; I always felt that.

    You know, we certainly have to give credit to artists like Loverboy and Bryan Adams for achieving such great commercial success, but there are a lot of great Canadian artists such as Larry Smith, Dave Vidal and John Witmer who contributed behind those scenes in their own way. I’m sure they inspired someone, somewhere.

    We give a lot of credit to the great American blues artists, and rightly so, but we Canucks can carve out a pretty good blues tune as well, on any given night.

  2. Gary Hesketh says:

    Indeed, a lot of great Canadian talent goes unrecognized, for some reason! Great article and video, from a truly great voice.

  3. Terry Steer says:

    Love this track. Raw emotion in a voice from deep inside. If you were fortunate enough to catch Whiskey Howl ( at their 1981 reunion performance at the El Mocambo, and prior) you would have seen an early version of what was to become a great Canadian blues singer.

    RIP, Mr. Witmer.

  4. Tim Keenan says:

    Witmer was as good a blues and R & B singer as ever existed, anywhere, bar none–even when he was in his twenties.

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