“America (The Saints Come Marching Home)” is the new song from Pittsburgh’s John Vento. A song that appeals to fans of folk, Americana and rock and roll, Vento patches together his powerful message. A message of hope, but one that comes with a dire warning. Is it too far to turn this around? Is American society too far gone? Vento’s driving guitar and Native American chanting sends chills down the listener’s spine. “America (The Saints Come Marching Home)” is the song that we as a nation must face.
If this song were a movie, I think a filmmaker like Ken Burns would be behind this stirring track. Vento sings with the voice of a warrior. He’s lived a few lives in that voice of his. The listener feels cast into his array of imagery and guided by the organic wind flute. The listener easily wanders into an internal discussion – are the ghosts of America’s past coming out during these trying times? Are we as a nation coming closer to the middle or driving each other further apart? America, America saints, the saints come marching home, the holy ghost is on his knees, crushed by sticks and stones, Vento sings in a machismo voice. Brassy tambourines surround him like a spectacle of stars and historic voices. It’s breathtaking. It’s the song that stops you in your tracks.
Hurricane thunder on a federal freight train, Vento continues. Picking up dust on the backs of the weak he later adds. In his blistering take, the guitars and the bass guitars are just as fiery. This song makes you feel like there is war on the horizon, that Venmo is gathering the troops. Still, there’s a silent peace running through its middle as if it signal there is always hope and we’ve been down this road before. We will come out it again, but not unscathed. The raspy voice, the honor he presents is startling. Adding more drama and beauty, just the same, is a backing female voice. The thread she adds to the overall tapestry is like a ray of sunlight, a beautiful yellow rose in a black and white field.
Music fans might also be familiar with Vento as fronting the bands The Businessmen and Nied’s Hotel Band. He’s a natural behind the microphone and in “America (The Saints Come Marching Home)” he sees the world through a very interesting lens. It certainly adds to the discussion. I think he’s a master at creating the tone and capturing the vibe of the times we are living in. This song is a protest song in some circles, but one can’t argue that it’s not a rock and roll song. It’s rebellious vibe is the epitome of rock. If you like this song, be sure to check out Vento’s album, Wayward Soul (2011). I highly suggest the tracks “America”, “Kingdome Come” and “Up Jumps The Devil, Pop Goes The Weasel”. His other most recent work is the 13-track album, Love, Lust & Other Wreckage (2018).