John Sonntag has come a long way — from rust-belt roots to the industrial monuments and indie-music hotbeds of Hoboken, New Jersey to points all along the folk, rock and outdoor festival circuit. And the singer-songwriter has gone far — from valued session player and onstage sideman to sought-after producer and prized solo performer with hits-in-the-making and a gold-record voice.

Movement is what defines John Sonntag; the assured pulse and groove of his agile masterly guitar and the journeys he takes through his characters’ lives — and his audiences’ hearts. The breeze and bite of his warm, bell-like voice, which rises to sweet flights and descends to gritty sidetracks, and the high spirit and humanity of his compelling stories, from hopeful starts to dead ends and second chances, transport an ever-growing group of admirers on journeys of their own.

From the dashboard soundtrack of “Radio Song” to the small-town escape act of “It Feels Right” to the separate worlds of “Time Can Make Us Strangers” and the joyful jam mantra of “Too Much of a Good Thing,” Sonntag knows the American mythology of the beckoning, endless road, and thinks it over with an uncommonly sharp and sympathetic eye for what’s on the horizon and what gets left behind.

Sometimes you go the farthest by staying put, and Sonntag’s mind never stops moving, with even newer songs like the anthem to the small world of a child’s neighborhood “WIFFLE® Ball” getting the crowds cheering in the stands — a hit for all ages, with an insistent tune you can’t get out of your head and gentle lessons for the joys of everyone joining in.

“The songs we believed, tuned in to you and me” is how another one goes, and Sonntag makes instant followers of those who pick up the irresistible melodies he’s heard in his head. A natural talent with a harvest of gifts to share, he’s the traveling troubadour of music-fair and phone-screen, cafe and pub, taking you places and always ready for another, new run.

You’ll see him in your town one day and never look back from the road that leads him to you.


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