JB Eckl is truly one of those 'once in a long while' talents - someone put on this planet to make music, irrespective of genre or geography. Whether composing, producing or performing, JB's intuitive grasp of what makes a timeless and soulful sound has made a powerful impression on every collaborator and music lover who has crossed his path.
And what a path. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the Canadian prairies, JB started his musical career in a swinging-door saloon in central Mexico called Pancho & Lefty's, where at a green 17 years old he played everything from Marley to Zeppelin for a few pesos a night. Returning to Canada, JB took advantage of a local bar that hosted touring Chicago blues bands, studying them closely and sitting in whenever possible. Eventually, a burning curiosity about far-flung places and sounds found him traveling throughout Latin America and the Caribbean before settling in Los Angeles to further his career.
Shortly after cutting his first cassette demos, JB's vocal and guitar style caught the ear of Lonnie Jordan of the iconic 70's funk band War, who immediately invited him out on the road. For the next two years, JB toured the world with War, absorbing their eclectic style and rubbing shoulders with the likes of the Black Crowes, Dr. John, Keb Mo', Parliament Funkadelic and many more - an experience which he describes as his 'Master's Degree program in groove.' During this time he also met Latin rock legend Carlos Santana, a huge influence of JB's, who would later play a major role in his story.
Leaving the touring life to focus on songwriting, JB landed his first cuts with pop divas En Vogue and jazz guitar legend Larry Carlton while working as a staff writer for Famous Music/Paramount. He began picking up session work, and his highly creative approach to production was gaining a reputation. JB began to collaborate with producer KC Porter, who was enjoying a streak of hits with Ricky Martin and other Latin pop artists, and together they took on the task of creating some new material for Santana.
A long-time devotee of Carlos' sound, JB had played onstage with him during the War years, a life-changing moment that would have been more than enough for a kid from Saskatoon. Now, JB found himself in close collaboration with the hero of his youth. Along with Porter, he co-wrote 'Primavera' for Santana's smash 1999 comeback album Supernatural, which went on to sell 30 million copies worldwide and take home a record-breaking nine Grammy Awards including Album of the Year. Other songs from this period found their way onto various Santana projects, including the Afrobeat-inspired 'One of These Days,' on Santana's 2002 follow-up album, Shaman. This track, featuring LA favorites Ozomatli, put the spotlight on JB's lead vocals. At Carlos' invitation, JB performed the song with him at the Hollywood Bowl.
Backstage at the Bowl, Carlos took JB aside and told him it was time to step out from 'behind the scenes' and explore his own voice as an artist. It would be a long road, but this advice struck a chord of truth with JB.
Trading in his studio equipment for a tiny mobile setup, living for various periods in Mexico, Vancouver Island, Portland OR, Topanga CA and Nashville TN, JB honed his original material while remaining active as a producer in every genre from folk-rock to flamenco. Highlights include composing the original score for South African feature film Cape of Good Hope and co-producing the studio return of his former War boss Lonnie Jordan, for the Concord/Stax release 'War Stories.'
Mentored by masters, inspired by his travels, JB has crafted a sweeping musical vision that takes in all that he's been exposed to throughout his journey. On his solo art-pop opus Everywhere At Once, JB is sharing his most honest, searching and adventurous work with the world. Like his heroes, he remains a firm believer that music has a purpose far beyond mere entertainment - that it can be a compass and a mirror for the soul, a soundtrack to our inner lives. And for many fans, the sound that serves this purpose is JB's own -- a sound described by Rainn Wilson as ‘Canadian freak-magic for your ear-bones.’