Biographery J Oscar Writes and Plays Modern Folk That Pops
J Oscar Bittinger gave up a future in the clergy to carry around a beat guitar case full of songs and stories. They’ve been collected in travel, borrowed from strangers, picked up off the floors of barrooms and bedrooms, fished out of friends and made up from real life. The stories get woven into songs that take the shape of folk, rock, Irish and pop music. Sometimes they sound like poems, sometimes like fables, some may have you drop a tear – others may encourage you to engage your dance gear. Thoughtful or fun, they sound the best when you sing along.
J Oscar Bittinger toured the Midwest as a singer-songwriter in the late 70s, then cofounded the 80-90’s Musician Magazine recognized pop-rock band Pillar of Fire. As his need for fire and noise quelled in the beginning of the 21st Century, JOB began to delve back into traditional acoustic styles. First with The Folk Bros (founded with Bruce Zeeuw and Steve Aldrich) – purveyors of hard-edged folk with a sense of humor; followed by Oxter/Mahone, a rotating party of “Celtic Roots, American Rhythms”; and continuing in the singer-songwriter duo Dublin Station (with Lauran Hardin) – that combined traditional Irish tunes with original songs that “leaned Celtic” – and sometimes adding beats and grooves.
J Oscar’s current projects include a weekly Facebook live stream (“A residency from my residence”) that can be seen every Tuesday at 8:00 ET (echoed at JOscarBittinger.com), as well as curating past recordings (while working on new releases for Bandcamp & CD later this year). He is also reviving – post pandemic – the beloved West Michigan December holiday songwriter showcase “A Winter’s Tune”.
“I hear every single singer/songwriter I love from the early 60s….(J Oscar is) on at The Bitter End, right after Tom Paxton, and just before that kid Bobby Zimmerman. Powerful ethos of innocence and joy and well-deserved weariness.”
…rhythmic and energetic guitar player – imaginative arrangements filled out the songs. I’m impressed!
Here’s what I love: all the sensory images you use that place me directly in the world of your songs and the compelling and singable choruses.