Though via the road less traveled, John Batdorf has accumulated a career in music that spans over 30 years and is still moving forward. Whether it's being center stage, a back-up singer or a producer of music for television, he succeeds in creating rhythmic sounds with the sole purpose of pleasing the audience. Now Batdorf is back on tour and has a scheduled stop in Dayton at the Canal Street Tavern on September 18 to promote his latest solo album, 'Old Man Dreamin.'
The experiences Batdorf has endured from chasing his boyhood dream of being a musician helped shape 'Old Man Dreamin' into a deeply personal album. While the song 'I Will Rise' is about the 36 year marriage to his wife, Melanie, the title track is autobiographical with lots of inside information about his musical journey.
"I hope the 'old men' listening will identify with the bittersweet dreams of being an old guy in a young guys' business," Batdorf said.
Batdorf's voyage began in the 70's as one half of Batdorf & Rodney, which resulted in a couple of albums and a tour across the country. They opened for several top acts from the era including Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers and Hall and Oats. However, Batdorf and Rodney eventually parted ways, but it was not the end of the road.
During the 80's Batdorf moved from center stage into the background and recorded vocals for such artists as Rod Stewart, Motley Crue and David Lee Roth. He also created and sung jingles for a number of movies and television shows.
In the 90's, Batdorf landed in prime time by producing the musical score for the CBS drama 'Promised Land.' He composed all the underscore music for the shows final three seasons before moving on to the same role for 'Touched By An Angel.' The work was strenuous under such a tight schedule but very rewarding to hear on a completed episode.
"I never thought I would have to work that hard, that's why I became a musician, but I've taken that same work ethic towards my record," Batdorf said.
Then 30 years after separating from Rodney, Batdorf recieved the unique invitation to perform a house concert for on old fan in his living room for some friends and family. A reconnection with his passion for having a live audience was formed and he was soon back to touring.
Despite such a long and accomplished career, Batdorf believes that 'Old Man Dreamin' is his best work to date, and is relevant to all ages with themes about the economic crises and falling in love. "When the times comes that you think your latest work isn't the best it's time to quit. I love everything I've done, but I feel that this is the best," he said.
Though Batdorf's path has strayed from the normal course, his loyal fans never lost track of him and show up at his current shows. "Everywhere I go, I meet someone who has a story from back in the 70's about my music and it's great to have that connection."
New and old fans are welcome to see John Batdorf at the Canal Street Tavern, 308 E. First Street, on September 18 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $12.00.
The journey has been long and eventful but Batdorf's dream to be a musician has been reached. "It took awhile to get here and the path was anything but straight, but I would not have had it any other way."
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