(JERSEY CITY, NJ) — Gary Van Miert’s philosophy of saying yes whenever he’s asked to do something outside of his comfort zone has taken him to some very interesting places. Playing as The sensational wonders of country blues!, Van Miert is a singer, songwriter, musician and artist specializing in Americana. “I have my own unique take on American roots music – classic country from the 50s and 60s, local spiritual songs from the golden age of gospel, and age-old blues numbers that date back to the greats of Mississippi and Chicago. ”
Combining these elements to create a “one of a kind” musical experience, his sound has recently evolved to incorporate elements of 60s psychedelic music into the mix. The Adventures of a Psychedelic Cowboy (release date September 2, 2022) is an album of deeply introspective, trippy, whimsical and spiritual songs. This collection is influenced by psychedelic art and music from the 60s, such as Jimi Hendrix Experience, Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Peter Max and Salvador Dali. Other influences include traditional country music, Lewis Carroll and British music hall filtered through The Kinks and The Beatles. “During the Covid isolation, I spent time reflecting on my life, trying to make sense of existence and exploring my sense of awe for the universe,” he explains. “This song cycle is the product of that inner journey.”
As the founder and leader of The Sensational Country Blues Wonders!, Gary Van Miert has long been a fixture in the Jersey City arts community. He tirelessly devotes his talents and time to all manner of benefit concerts and church services, and has also taken the time to direct and develop an educational program focused on American Roots music at the Jersey City Public Library. For most of his life, playing music was a hobby. “It was exciting to go out and play in your 50s and become a local celebrity/luminary,” he confesses. Playing hundreds of gigs in the New York and New Jersey area, his band shared bills with national bands Marshall Crenshaw, The Smithereens and Evan Dando.
Van Miert and The Sensational Country Blues Wonders! released their first original record, The world will break your heart in 2020 to great national and international fame. Americana Highways said that Van Miert “…brilliantly infuses classic country, blues, and gospel…” while Americana, Roots, Country, & Bluegrass Music claimed that “There is no doubt that Gary Van Miert is a master of American roots music”. The record was written before the pandemic, but recorded during. Out of necessity, the instrumentals were recorded remotely using a service in Nashville, TN that provided Nashville session musicians with Van Miert recording his vocals in his home studio. The Adventures of a Psychedelic Cowboy was also recorded during the pandemic and used this same process. “I found it to be a very efficient way to work,” he says. “I recorded the vocals at home, which is definitely more relaxing than in a recording studio.”
The songs on The Adventures of a Psychedelic Cowboy were written during the Covid lockdown and are more introverted, nostalgic and personal. “Between the variants of Covid, I was active. I had performed a number of local outdoor shows in the spring, summer and fall with local musicians available. When Covid reared its ugly head again, I backed off and began the process of writing and recording all of the songs on the album. This album is my “Revolver” and “Exile on Main St.” all in one ! There’s the experimental psychedelia that the Beatles began to incorporate into their music around this time mixed with the gospel, country and other American elements that the Rolling Stones used on Exile.
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A ten-song cycle of all original material, The Adventures of a Psychedelic Cowboy combines all the influences of Van Miert; gospel, country, Americana and Rock n’ Roll and layer it with experimental psychedelic elements. There are the direct gospels, “I begin to live in the light” and “God will take me home”. The country song, “I’m a Caterpillar,” name-checking Franz Kafka, and the rocker, “I’ve Got Memphis on My Mind.”
The cosmic elements appear with the first song, “There’s a Hole in the Fabric of My Reality,” a kaleidoscopic number about a breakthrough in your perception of the universe and a sense of wonder about everything. Musically, this song features sitar, mellotron and theremin to create the sonic equivalent of an altered state of reality.
“Breathe” is a soaring children’s song with flavors of New Orleans, a cosmic nursery rhyme celebrating the wonders of breathing. “The Psychedelic Cowboy Song” is a mind-blowing song about the joys of exploring the limitless cosmos. Musically, it has a chamber-pop-meet-psychedelia feel, allowing the listener to imagine they are floating in space. Baroque pop, “Life is So Freaking Beautiful” is a surreal song about the nature of reality and the realization that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
“Music of the Spheres” is a sitar-infused space song over the natural harmonic tones produced by the movement of the planets. It is based on the theory of Pythagoras and his followers in ancient Greece that celestial bodies make music. You can’t get more psychedelic than that!
Considering himself a conceptual artist with music as his medium, Van Miert continues to incorporate new and different influences into his work. “I’ve always traced music back to the source. What I do is not watered down, because I go back to the creators. Although I proudly wear my influences on my sleeve, I took the time to find my own unique voice. We’ve all been influenced by other performers, but even if you do other people’s songs, you have to make them your own. I’ve always stayed true to my vision of what I think my music should sound like.
Van Miert and The Sensational Country Blues Wonders! are known for their electrifying singing and performance style. Van Miert writes original catchy songs that connect with an audience. “I also consider myself an artist and love performing live and getting an immediate reaction from the audience.”
To quote a musician friend of Van Mierts, “Whether leading a band through a concert or a congregation singing in church, it is clear that Gary Van Miert is a tireless force of nature who has contributed and will contribute to the richness of the artistic and cultural heritage. wealth of Jersey City. With The Adventures of a Psychedelic CowboyVan Miert is sure to bring that energy to the rest of the country and beyond.