“What’s a little pain without sunshine?”: John Vincent III Spills His Heart & Soul in Sophomore Album ‘Songs for the Canyon’

Songs for the Canyon - John Vincent III
Songs for the Canyon - John Vincent III
Singer/songwriter John Vincent III spills his aching heart and soul in his sophomore record ‘Songs for the Canyon,’ a breathtakingly beautiful folk album made with love and tender care.
for fans of Elton John, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon
Stream: “That’s Just The Way It Is, Babe” – John Vincent III

I suppose ‘Songs for the Canyon’ is a self-exploration and acceptance of what I found, a representation of my life as it was… In the canyon, much like our lives, there is sunlight and rain. I hope there is a song here for whatever your day may bring.

At first blush, John Vincent III’s sophomore album feels like some long-lost relic from the 1970s.

It’s the treasure we never knew we were searching for; a modern classic ready to be dusted off and cherished. The piano parts are warm and rosy, the guitars radiant and rousing, the harmonies bright and lively, the lyrics catchy and captivating – and at the center of every song, no matter how bright or dark it may be, is an undeniable dedication to the music-making craft.

Vincent’s golden voice, so full of heartfelt passion and raw emotion, feels as intimate as a whisper and as comforting as a hug; his poetic words build vivid worlds into which we, his audience, are thrown headfirst – and happily. He isn’t just singing his songs; he’s living them, and that alone makes each one timeless.

A breathtakingly beautiful folk album made with love and tender care, Songs for the Canyon aches with the weight of the world as John Vincent III spills his heart and soul in song – dwelling in life’s little moments of meaning and connection, contemplating the highs and lows of love and longing, and basking in the pure, unbridled joy of making music.

It’s an achingly honest record of self-discovery and connection, reverie and reflection; an up-close and personal look at the Los Angeles by-way-of Houston singer/songwriter’s life and times as he opens himself up for all to see, hear, and feel.

Songs for the Canyon - John Vincent III
Songs for the Canyon – John Vincent III
Hey hey lets leave this whole thing behind
buy ourselves some land baby and act like we own it
somewhere down south where the skies feel like home
outside of town the parcels are big and wide
so we could go walkin’ anytime
nobody else in sight thats just the way it is, babe
one and two and three till we see the light
shine down on us shine
a fall from heaven or a fall from grace, I dont know
either way kid its gonna hurt the whole way down
so lets go walkin’ into the light
take a couple on the chin
nobody else in sight thats how its gotta be babe
thats just the way it is, babe
– “That’s Just the Way It Is, Babe,” John Vincent III

Released November 17, 2023 via Blue June Music / Concord Records, Songs for the Canyon is a gentle giant of warm and wondrous folk: A blanket for the mind, body, and soul, John Vincent III’s sophomore album is the product of several years’ worth of daydreams and introspections, all wrapped up into twelve songs that evoke the summer’s heat, the autumn’s calm, winter’s chill, and the spring’s sense of renewal and wonder.

Arriving four long years after Vincent’s 2019 debut album Songs from the Valley, Songs for the Canyon is deeply vulnerable, cathartic, and utterly all-consuming – an evergreen record ready to be a soundtrack for all of life’s seasons: The highs of love, the lows of loss and longing, and all the messy, wonderful in-betweens.

“I kind of feel like this is my first record as an adult,” Vincent tells Atwood Magazine. “I also consciously wanted something mature and hopefully tasteful and digestible in 20 years. I tried to push myself with song structure, instrumentation – I brought in orchestra players – and yeah, I think I just wanted to show that I care and want to try to make something to the best of my ability.”

John Vincent III © Kaitlyn Renee
John Vincent III © Kaitlyn Renee

Featuring production from Vincent as well as Tom Elmhirst (Adele, David Bowie), Tony Berg (boygenius, Phoebe Bridgers, Taylor Swift), Ryan Hadlock (Zach Bryan, Brandi Carlile, The Lumineers), and Jonathan Gilbert (Mt. Joy, Pete Yorn), Songs for the Canyon is an expansive, expressive, and impressively cohesive collection – one that ultimately shines a light on its author’s own unfiltered and unflinching humanity, as he himself endeavors to shine a light out on the world he knows and loves.

“Before starting this record, I was deciding if music would always be something I pursue, living out of my van on the road for eight months or so, never really staying in one place for long. Life began feeling like this constant state of change,” Vincent shares. “When the time came that I was ready to start making another album, that sentiment carried through. Songs for the Canyon is the product of eight studios, five producers including myself, seven states, multiple versions of most songs, and every single emotion. Change was happening the whole way through the last days. It is not how I would like to make another record, but it couldn’t be more true to what life was like before the album began, and it feels like a real stamp in time for me.”

“The vision was to have old, raw sounding recordings, but with my own style sprinkled over top. I don’t know if the vision ever really changed – it just took a lot longer than I anticipated to find someone who understood what I wanted. By that point money had been spent, time had been spent, and I couldn’t really start over.”

“I have a handful of songs on the album that do feel like what I imagined the entire record being, but at some point I realized that this album is just not about creating and executing a theme. It was almost more about learning how to navigate challenges, continuing to push forward, finishing what I started, and allowing the album to make itself as much as I am making it. It was a really valuable era of life, and I love it for that.”

John Vincent III © Kaitlyn Renee
John Vincent III © Kaitlyn Renee

Change was happening the whole way through the last days. It is not how I would like to make another record, but it couldn’t be more true to what life was like before the album began, and it feels like a real stamp in time for me.

Three words Vincent uses to describe his album are journey, accepting, and wooden.

The title Songs for the Canyon, he explains, is in part an homage to his debut album, in part a reflection on where he and these songs came from, and a means of gifting them to listeners.

“I had some other album titles floating around for a while, but I kept coming back to the idea of making this feel a bit like a sequel to Songs from the Valley,” he says. “The word “from” feels like to receive, and the word “for” feels like to give. So, in my own mind it feels like I’m giving this record to the canyon where I spent so much time working on it. I’m giving to those who want to listen to it. I thought a lot about how once a project is out, it begins its own life… It could fail or flourish with or without me. It is not really mine anymore, and I liked looking at it that way.”

Highlights abound on the journey from bookends “Highway Woman” and “Money and My Pride” – both of which are standouts in their own right, the former setting the scene for all that’s to come and the latter tying so many of the album’s themes up with a dusty bow.

“Dandelion” grows from a tender piano ballad into a spirited, love-soaked anthem full of glistening guitar riffs, beautiful orchestral flourishes, and soul-stirring blue notes that send shivers down the spine. A charming, smile-inducing folk rock revelry, “Bluebird Singing” offers a moment of cheer as Vincent finds his way back to his love of music, leaning “into that sunshine” and inviting all to join him on a sweet stomp-and-holler singalong.

The brooding, breathtaking ballad “I Lit a Fire” aches with a deep, inner aching while calling to mind classic rock greats like Elton John and John Lennon, whilst the breezier acoustic number “That’s Just the Way It Is, Babe” has the warmth and sun-kissed glow of a mid-’60s Bob Dylan tune. (The same could also be said of the gentle, harmony-rich penultimate track “Rolling Stone,” but this writer felt that description almost too on-the-nose.)

Lay down in my arms
and we can make it back to the sunny parts
We’ve fallen on hard time
but what’s a little pain without sunshine?
Caroline, you dandelion
you flew away just like I told you to
What if I was wrong
could I erase that?

John Vincent III © Kaitlyn Renee
John Vincent III © Kaitlyn Renee

“‘Highway Woman’ and ‘That’s Just the Way It Is, Babe’ are my two favorite songs off the album currently,” Vincent smiles. “The latter of the two being probably what I am most proud of… It was the last song I wrote for the album and the last song recorded. I think it is almost the beginning of the next story. A highlight from making the album was maybe hiring the orchestra players and sitting in on those live takes for ‘Dandelion.’ It felt sweet to have an idea that isn’t super easy to tackle, and not be scared to get it done.”

As far as his lyrics are concerned, Vincent is quite to mention the opening lines to “Juniper And Yellow”: Old ways, nothing seems to be prettier when shattered. They stuck to me like some old glue beneath the counter. “Habits are hard to break,” he explains.

“It is hard enough to recognize your shortcomings, let alone have the strength to confront them and change. I was laying on the ground in my parents’ kitchen and looked up and the countertop – it extends past the cabinets a few inches, and I saw a bead of glue that trailed along the whole countertop, keeping it from moving. I thought that was a cool little line.”

John Vincent III © Kaitlyn Renee
John Vincent III © Kaitlyn Renee

Ultimately, Songs for the Canyon is an album meant to be lived in and lived with.

Its tracks are cozy and full of love, pulled from the intimate, aching depths of the artist’s heart.

“I hope listeners can use it to push through rough times,” Vincent shares. “There are songs of hope, pain, love, adventure. It’s for your roadtrip… maybe not for every moment of it, but for those drives in-between destinations when you’re thinking about shit. We all struggle with the same things in different ways.”

“For myself, I learned that I am so, so lucky to be able to have an audience that cares and will show up. I’ll never take that for granted and will always try to make music worthwhile. Love y’all.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside John Vincent III’s Songs for the Canyon with Atwood Magazine as he takes us through five of the most important tracks on this spectacular twelve-song serenade!

Vincent will be supporting Noah Kahan on tour this June, followed by live dates in the UK and Europe in August and his own headline North American tour running from coast to coast through September and October. Find tickets and more information at johnvincentiii.com!

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:: stream/purchase Songs for the Canyon here ::
:: connect with John Vincent III here ::
Stream: ‘Songs for the Canyon’ – John Vincent III

:: Inside Songs for the Canyon ::

Songs for the Canyon - John Vincent III

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“Money And My Pride”

Track 12

Starting with the last song because chronologically speaking, that song is the beginning of the story. When I initially was battling with wanting to step away from music, I drove home to Texas. A drive I have done more times than one might want through the Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas desert… a long drive with a lot of time to think. I always play Bruce’s Nebraska album on that drive and reflect on whatever has been going on in my life.

“Highway Woman”

Track 1

Skipping back to the top of the album, “Highway Woman” is a song about love, and traveling, and traveling with the one you love. The highs and the lows. My partner and I lived out of our van for 8 months and travelled the country with our new pup. We had some of the most beautiful times and some of the most difficult times. I wrote this song after being removed from that era of our life for some time and it just poured out in 30 minutes. Probably the fastest any song on the album got wrote. I love this song it means a lot to me.

“Bluebird Singing”

Track 4

The counterpart to “Money And My Pride,” “Bluebird Singing” is the end of the story. This song is about the things you love finding their way back to you.. music, in my case. It is a happier song, upbeat, and came from feeling excited again for the first time in a while and wanting to give this another go. Doing the drive in reverse. This time from Houston back to Los Angeles.

“Juniper And Yellow”

Track 6

Probably the first song I wrote out of them all, and it was during that time I was unsure of my future in music. I was at my parents’ house, there was a winter storm and all the power was out, water wasn’t running, all I had was this little micro cassette player and I went to the garage and just kind of freestyle sang words until I started saying things I wanted to talk about. Eventually, the lyrics were there and I recorded it probably 2 years later at a studio in LA.

“That’s Just The Way It Is, Babe”

Track 8

This was the last song I wrote for the album, the last song recorded. I think it is almost the beginning of the next story. Knowing that I do want to continue making music, but that I want it to look different moving forward. Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind and start new somewhere else… and that’s just the way it is, babe.

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:: stream/purchase Songs for the Canyon here ::
:: connect with John Vincent III here ::

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Songs for the Canyon - John Vincent III

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