American Opera, the brainchild of NYC singer-songwriter John Bee, has signed with Spartan Records and will be releasing the debut album “Small Victories” this spring.
Check out the teaser video here.
Watch for new music and additional announcements soon. In the meantime you can catch American Opera this week at South By Southwest and on tour with Carter Hulsey. American Opera was also recently confirmed for Bledfest on May 27 in Howell, MI. See dates below.
American Opera has toured the U.S. and Canada as both a solo act and with a full band, playing shows with the likes of The Avett Brothers, Josh Ritter, Cursive, Murder By Death, Owen, and William Elliott Whitmore, as well as featured performances at SXSW and the Vans Warped Tour.
Praise for American Opera:
“If there is any hope for the future of acoustic folk music, it lies within the
chest (or brain) of John Bee.” —MidwestAXN
“John Bee has already displayed the kind of musical chops veterans of his
genre hope to possess.”— Under The Gun Review
Tour Dates (w/ Carter Hulsey):
3/17 – SXSW – Stephen F’s Bar – Austin, TX (American Opera only)
3/22 – Walnut Room – Denver, CO
3/23 – The Rusty Needle – Hutchinson, KS
3/24 – The Whiskey House – Ankeny, IA
3/25 – The Tank Room – Kansas City, MO
3/26 – TBA – St. Louis, MO
3/27 – The Warming House – Minneapolis, MN
3/28 – Crescendo Music Bar & Cafe – Madison, WI
3/29 – Shank Hall – Milwaukee, WI
3/30 – The Wire – Chicago, IL
3/31 – Robin Theater – Lansing, MI
4/01 – Fischer Hall – Frankenmuth, MI
4/02 – Mahall’s Locker Room – Lakewood, OH
4/03 – Club Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA
4/04 – The 4th Street Bar – Mansfield, OH
4/06 – The Basement – Nashville, TN
4/07 – Embers Venue – Rensselaer, IN
4/08 – Fountain Square Brewery – Indianapolis, IN
5/27- Bledfest- Hartland Performing Arts Center- Howell, MI (American Opera only)
About American Opera:
Incremental progress. Monumental setbacks. Small victories. This is the story of American Opera.
After eight years of nonstop touring, Brooklyn-via-Michigan singer-songwriter John Bee found himself alone in a once-crowded van, wandering through the circulatory roads of America. It was during these long months, with a handful of newly-inspired songs, that American Opera was born — an unrepressed light emerging from a sea of misery.
“The never-ending road of try, fail, try, fail, try again, fail again — all of that is miserable,” says Bee, “but there are moments, and I think this is true in life, that make every little piece of the puzzle worth it. Tiny glimmers of hope that tell you to keep pushing and keep going.”
Fast-forward to 2017. That tiny glimmer has grown to a burning sun. With over 300 North American shows in the books (direct support for the likes of The Avett Brothers, Josh Ritter, and Cursive) and multiple Warped Tour appearances, American Opera is no longer wandering — the band is at full tilt. 2017 will also mark the arrival of the final missing piece of the puzzle — a debut record, aptly titled Small Victories.
More than a record, Small Victories is a collection of moments, both devastating and victorious. Ominous nostalgia confronting hopeful reemergence. Sonically, think Manchester Orchestra meets Ryan Adams, Brand New meets Langhorne Slim — polished stones in a bed of gravel and grit.
“The idea behind Small Victories is that the world is going to grow fists and start swinging at you, but you need to find reasons to get back up,” says Bee. “Lyrically, there are common threads in the songs that explore heartbreak, hope, loss, religion, mental health, and more. Some of the songs are about failure — I lovingly refer to them as ‘pep talks to myself.’ Maybe if I sing them over and over, something will change?”
Small Victories was self-produced and almost fully-performed by Bee in Atlanta, GA with the engineering assistance of Matt Goldman (Underoath, Anberlin). The result is a stunning eleven-song rollercoaster exploring a complete spectrum of emotion and experiences. It is an album of dynamics — a perfect balance of the fragile and explosive.
“Musically, I wanted to honor the ups and downs that the lyrics represent. I wanted big celebratory parts with horns and all the bells and whistles that would make you think you’re at a parade placed right next to a sobering nightmare where you’re having a conversation with the devil,” says Bee. “I wanted to take beautiful strings and quietly picked guitars and place them next to full-fledged rock songs. I wanted to show triumph and failure, the good and the evil, and the wins and losses.”
In the end, however, it may be that the small victories are all we remember and were all mattered in the first place. The silver linings were not just that after all, but rather small glimpses of a larger hope that can sustain us through even the most miserable of seas.
“There are signs of hope in each song that are pushing me forward,” says Bee. “They’re holding me up, so I need to keep going.”
While American Opera focuses on the going, in the Spring of 2017, listeners will experience the band’s true arrival, and the beginning of a journey that both collective parties will embark on together.