Musician builds relationships with audiences through acoustic songs |

Musician builds relationships with audiences through acoustic songs

Jonathan Foster plays Miner’s Park on Saturday

Singer-songwriter Jonathan Foster will perform Saturday at the Stio Stage at Miners Park on Main Street.
Photo by Keli Tims
Jonathan Foster When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday, July 25 Where: Stio Stage at Miner’s Park, Main Street Cost: Free Web: and
Singer-songwriter Jonathan Foster will perform Saturday at the Stio Stage at Miners Park on Main Street. The perforamance is part of Mountain Town Music’s summer concerts.
Photo by Keli Tims

Singer-songwriter Jonathan Foster remembers when he first visited Utah from his childhood home in Upstate New York.

“I was 10 and the mountains eclipsed ours,” said Foster, who will perform June 25 at the Stio Stage at Miner’s Park. “I knew I wanted to travel to different places.”

Traveling is one of Foster’s songwriting muses.

“I had cousins who would take us to California,” he said. “I come from a tiny place, and I am always fascinated by the diversity anywhere I go.”

I just need to remember when I publish a song, I will have to perform 300 or 400 times…” Jonathan Foster, singer and songwriter

In addition to traveling, Foster finds lyrical inspiration from ideas that humor him or events that are going on in the world.

“Sometimes I write about things that I’ve seen or something that befuddles me,” he said. “There’s always something that I have questions about — where do we come from? And how did we get here as a society and community?”

Other times Foster’s songs are just “goofy.”

“I try to dig into holes where I don’t even know where I’m going, so I try to meet the listener halfway,” he said with a laugh.

Foster developed his acoustic, folk-rock style throughout his decade-long career.

“I’ve always been drawn to songs that were scaled down to acoustic versions, and while listening to live music, I gravitated to the more mellow aesthetics of singer-songwriters,” he said. “I also think as I got older, my ears got burned out from loudspeakers and playing in rock ‘n’ roll in bands in college. So, I wanted to do the more mellow, acoustic singer-songwriter folk-rock type of thing.”

Foster grew up with music.

“My first instrument was the trumpet, and both my dad and grandfather had harmonicas,” he said. “I learned to read music when I was in seventh and eighth grade on piano, because we were fortunate to have music in school with chorus, band and musicals.”

A friend’s father introduced the guitar to Foster.

“He owned a pawn shop and basically offered this pre-classical guitar to me,” Foster said. “It was made in Korea, and it had nylon strings.”

Foster’s second guitar was a Fender that was so beaten up, he lost interest in playing for a while, he said.

That changed when he got his hands on a cheap but brand new composite Martin, made from fake wood.

“I call it my campfire guitar because you can leave it out in the rain,” Foster said with a laugh. “But that guitar played so much differently, and it was my first introduction to how a guitar can feel right with your voice and feel right with your songwriting. It was a giant leap forward.”

Foster is a self-taught guitarist.

“It was a long process, and I still have this wonky style that some people scoff at while others tell me it’s ‘very unique,’” he said, laughing. “But it all stems from necessity. I’m still trying to wrangle it into submission.”

Over the past ten years, Foster has released five independent studio albums, including “Lantern Shade,” which was released in 2021.

Last April, the singer-songwriter released a single, “Mountain Echo,” which isn’t tied to the album. 

“My goal is to continue releasing song after song, unless there is a demand for a bigger project,” he said. “I do have a track record of releasing an album every other year for the past 10 years, but I don’t know if that will continue. I am, however, a fan of the old-school album concept and listening to albums.”

In addition to recording and releasing his albums, Foster has toured the country several times.

“I want to say this is what I do best,” he said. “I write lyrics and play melodies that have some sort of aesthetic to the ear and try to find an audience for it. I just need to remember when I publish a song, I will have to perform 300 or 400 times. So I’d better like it.”

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