Booking/FLABiographyBooking: US/InternationalDiscographyBooking/GeneralHOME
Folk Tales #1Folk Tales #2RoadnotesCalendar

At Johnny D's with Mr. Bones

Spider John Koerner - Press Quotes

THE NEW YORKER 8/6/08 Night Life preview - JALOPY THEATRE:The country-blues singer, songwriter, and barrelhouse guitarist Spider John Koerner—one-third of the obscure yet legendary sixties folk trio Koerner, Ray, & Glover—has been performing in the bars and folk clubs of the Twin Cities ever since Bob Dylan was enrolled at the University of Minnesota (he was one of the first to turn Dylan on to folk music). Bonnie Raitt covered one of Koerner’s songs on her début album, and his fans have included John Lennon and David Bowie. His influence on twentieth-century music aside, watching Koerner perform might be the closest you can get to understanding how, more than eighty years ago, Charley Patton alone on guitar kept a roomful of people dancing and partying until the sun came up.

BOSTON GLOBE- 1/9/08 (review of Club 47 50 year HOOT celebration) Defying his years, Spider John Koerner was the night's real treat. His ramshackle demeanor (all gangly arms and legs and tucked-in flannel shirt) and ragtag trio captured the true essence of a hootenanny: spirited, communal, and completely off the cuff. Koerner was lean and nimble as the band tore through gritty folk-blues (and, lo and behold, the night's only performance of "Goodnight, Irene"). Hard to believe the man is pushing 70....- James Reed

VANITY FAIR in November 2003 Blues, Rags & Hollers Article: David Bowie's Top 256 CD Wish List: "Bought at Dobell's. In his own way, 'Spider John Koerner' was an influence on Bob Dylan, with whom he used to play in the coffeehouse bars of Dinkytown, the arty section around the University of Minnesota. Demolishing the puny vocalizations of 'folk' trios like the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Whatsit, Koerner and company showed how it should be done. First time I had heard a 12-string guitar."

BOSTON HERALD (Cambridge River Festival, June 18, 2001)

Minnesota's Spider John Koerner had a sound remarkably similar to the ragtime-blues of his '60's prime. Telling corny jokes, shouting timeless lyrics, stomping out an infectious beat, Koerner was a juggernaut of joy. article by Daniel Gewertz

GAVIN AMERICANA (StarGeezer review)

"Some artists have a built in cool factor that can be seen in their influence on others. Spider John Koerner is the man who had a great deal of influence on Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, John Lennon & the Doors. As one of folk and blues’ greatest innovators he got the blues revival of the ‘60’s going and has kept it going strong ever since. On StarGeezer, Koerner retains the elements that have made him the legend that he is. With philosophical and witty originals and wild turns on classical songs, Koerner will set your ears into a frenzy with his original guitar styling and insightful phrasings. StarGeezer is a rollicking good time, and as Bonnie Raitt has said, "They just don’t make anybody like John anymore…They broke the mold."


"This hoary Minneapolis singer-guitarist, who purportedly influenced everyone from Bob Dylan to Bonnie Raitt, skipped stardom on his way to becoming a hero. Returning with a rootsy album of traditional folk and wry originals, Koerner shows that 4 decades of obscurity haven’t diminished his talent for making engaging music out of wholly familiar elements" -Tom Sinclair


"Long before Soul Asylum, long before Prince, there was a thriving music scene in Minneapolis. Its foremost export was Bob Dylan, but he wasn’t the only major talent. Spider John Koerner, Dave Snaker Ray and Tony Little Sun Glover performed in area coffeehouses, recorded in various combinations and made an important contribution to the folk revival of the early sixties. Some 3 decades after it appeared, their first album, Blues, Rags & Hollers is reissued, and sounds as good to me now as it did then. As a trio, K,R&G brought a raucous highly rhythmic approach to the acoustic blues that effectively captured the essence of their forbears. …. Koerner brought a delightful sense of humor to his pounding rags. Buy it, then write letters to Red House demanding they reissue everything else."


"Blues,Rags&Hollers" (CD on Red House) Koerner,Ray&Glover..early ‘60’s Minneapolis blues/folk threesome dug deeper into the roots of Americana than the folk revivalists of the era. Their efforts and surpassingly good musicianship are reflected in their debut, issued on Audiophile in ’63, later picked up by Elektra, and long since out of print. Combining the archetypal blues of trailblazers like Leadbelly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Blind Lemon Jefferson & Robert Johnson with originals in the same spirit, K,R&G preserved and revitalized an American tradition. With this reissue, that flame is kept alive…a magnificent work."

PAUL NELSON from Little Sandy Review & Sing Out

  • "Koerner’s art is like Chaplin’s, as great and lasting as it is entertaining.’’-
  • "..the most innovatively brilliant acoustic blues musician of his generation."

  • FOLKROOTS-Ian Anderson

    "As far as I was concerned, Spider John Koerner was up there with Blind Boy Fuller, Big Joe Williams and other great blues originals…just inspiration city! The man’s still a true original…time hasn’t disguised his inimitable sound."


    "His guitar picking is faster ‘n cleaner than ever, his voice is as strong ‘n smirkin’ as it was in ’63, and the material that he does is great. He just bowls ya over with a combination of chops and sheer mother power."

    BONNIE RAITT from documentary "Blues, Rags & Hollers"-The Story of Koerner, Ray & Glover

    "John was the ‘Old Venerable One’, the guy that influenced a lot of other musicians that would come up. It was like having a big celebrity living right in town (Cambridge,MA). He became the fulcrum of the whole scene. I watched his hands, I learned a lot of things from him. It looked like he was having fun & that’s just what I wanted to do & that’s why I’m doing it still."


    "He has a real unique style of guitar playing & a great talking blues style of delivery. They just don’t make anybody like Spider John Koerner. They broke the mold. As all great originators, like Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan, anybody else who tries to imitate them would just look like that, an imitator. I do "I Ain’t Blue" in my shows and recorded it on my first album. It’s one of my favorite songs of John’s, but his other songs I love to play just for my own enjoyment; but I can never come close to playing them as well as he does."

    GARRISON KEILLOR intro. On Prairie Home Companion

    "I want to welcome a guy here I’d sure like to introduce to you fully but he’d be too embarrassed if I said everything I could say about him. Mr. John Koerner is a favorite musician of mine, a great pool player & he speaks Danish as well."


    "Koerner has the wry wisdom and stability of a man completely at ease with himself and others…a legend who feels he doesn’t have to bother to live up to the billing…and therefore does."

    Booking/FLABiographyBooking: US/International DiscographyBooking/GeneralHOME