It all started in a 300-watt rock band in the farm country of northeast Iowa.
That's where John McKone first developed his interest in the guitar and his lifelong passion for making music. After kicking around in college with a series of majors that ranged from biomedical engineering to philosophy, John finally settled on the study of music. He went on to get his Master's degree in composition and theory from the University of Minnesota.
Along with his formal education, John played the role of musical journeyman, performing in bars and concert halls on guitar, trombone, keyboards and even drums on one memorable (but probably best forgotten) occasion. Since then, John has applied his compositional and arranging skills to projects ranging from straight-ahead pop to jazz big band as well as scores for movies and computer games. He has also produced several well-received classical compositions, though some might say that a suite for bricked piano, brass and a children's plastic pool with a watering can wouldn't be classified "serious" classical music.
In recent years, John has returned to his first love: the guitar. He has also stepped out of the shadows of the Minnesota music scene to release his award-winning debut solo acoustic album, Here It Is. Continuing his trademark of thoroughly exploring every angle of a new project, John recored Here It Is on a guitar that he built himself.
A pre-release version of Here It Is was named a finalist in the 2000 Musicians Atlas Music Awards. The CD was named 2001 Solo Instrumental Album of the Year and the title track was awarded second place in the Solo Instrumental Song of the Year category at the Just Plain Folks Music Awards, the largest music awards program in the world (featuring over 2,400 album entries and more than 12,000 song entries). Here It Is has been getting airplay throughout the U.S. and Europe, including a coveted spot on the Minnesota Public Radio Morning Show, one of the country's most listened-to acoustic music programs.
With his second album, Times Too, John continues to explore new territory. And no doubt that's what he'll continue to do, again and again and again.