John Sponarski’s dedication to making a life as a musician is unbreakable. With the state of the music industry these days more and more it seems next to impossible to eke out a living but for some there just is not another way: for some it is not a choice.
After earning a Bachelor's Degree in music, John spent his formative years touring as one half of the songwriting duo Portage and Main, which won much acclaim for its two albums of heartfelt roots-rock. By the time the band deformed John had already made a reputation for himself as one of Vancouver’s premier guitar players. An in demand session player working on countless records and backing up artists like Aaron Pritchett, Ben Rogers, and was also a founding member of The Wild North.
It is under the guise of “Johnny 99” however that he gets to take center stage, writing and singing songs that sound like they have been around forever. Although there is a clear nod to heroes like John Prine, Willie Nelson and Neil Young the tunes fit firmly in the here and now. His lyrics are honest and penned with his heart worn firmly on his sleeve. Johnny 99 put out an EP in 2016 via the Light Organ Records “Railtown Sessions” but the constant demands of session work have kept him mainly in the shadows. With a much needed break from touring in 2020, “99” was able to refocus and invest this time making his first full length album, “Words Left Unsaid.”
With songs that paint vivid pictures of lovable losers, fallen friends, and the broken-hearted, it is an all consuming exploration of someone trying to come to terms with a world they struggle to make sense of. It is a labour of love. After years of playing second fiddle, Johnny 99 is ready to take centre stage once again.