Dear John Letters!
Thanks all of you who joined us at
our reunion @ the Sunset tavern!!!!
Nov 4th. We might just do it again soon!

Led by singer/songwriter Robb Benson , Dear John Letters is an alternative pop/rock and indie rock band with a knack for introspective, contemplative, and emotionally complex lyrics. Musically, Dear John Letters is usually melodic and tuneful -- even though the band's thought-provoking lyrics don't always go out of their way to be accessible, the melodies are easy to absorb. Dear John Letters' main influences include R.E.M. ,Elvis Costello ,David Bowie , and the Beatles -- that is, the Beatles ' post-1965 work (such as Let It Be , Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road , and the White Album ) more than their early- to mid-'60s recordings. And that combination of influences makes perfect sense when you consider how much the Fab Four influenced R.E.M. ,Costello , and Bowie (as well as countless others -- American, British, and otherwise). Benson has lived in the Pacific Northwest his entire life. The singer/songwriter was born in Mount Vernon, WA, and he was active on the Seattle rock scene at least half a decade before the formation of Dear John Letters. In the mid-'90s, Benson formed a Seattle-based alterna-rock band called the Nevada Bachelors , which acquired a small but enthusiastic cult following in the Pacific Northwest. After recording two albums for the PopLlama label (Carrots & So On and Hello Jupiter ), the Nevada Bachelors broke up -- and Benson went on to record a five-song solo EP titled Songs About Songs . But Benson had no desire to be a full-time solo artist; by 2000, he had formed Dear John Letters. The band's first two albums -- Rewriting the Wrongs in 2000 and Unbroken in 2002 -- were released on the Roam label and had limited distribution. After that, Dear John Letters enjoyed much better distribution when the band signed with the independent, Los Angeles-based Foodchain Records (which had been the home of the all-female metal/punk band Betty Blowtorch ). In 2003, Foodchain released Stories of Our Lives , Dear John Letters' first Foodchain release and third album overall. Joining Benson in Dear John Letters are bassist Richard Davidson, drummer Cassady Laton, and guitarist Johnny Sangster , who is also known for his work as a producer/engineer as well as for his guitar playing. In addition to working with well-known bands like the Posies and Mudhoney ,Sangster produced the first Nevada Bachelors album and Benson 's Songs About Songs EP. Benson and Sangster have also worked together as a duo; their duet project Sangster Meets Benson Benson Meets Sangster (released on Roam in 2002) was recorded between Rewriting the Wrongs and Stories of Our Lives . ~ Alex Henderson, All Music
All original line up was:
back for 1 night!

Seattle WA in Ballard.

with Special guests:
PRESENTS 1971 many guest players playing 1971 tunes!

THE GREAT UM opened the showhttp://sunsettavern.com


Michelle Price-Auer - Lyrics/Poetry

Robb Benson- Lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Johnny Sangster- lead guitar, keys, backing vocals

Cassady Laton- Drums

Richard Davidson- Bass

Dear John Letters: Rewriting the Wrongs  - (Roam)

The new project from former Nevada Bachelor frontman Robb Benson, with a backing band that includes producer Johnny Sangster and now Richard Davidson of Radio Nationals. It's an incredibly well-crafted album of indie-rock with a folk and '60s influence running through it. Robb has found his stride and sits atop the local scene as far as I'm concerned. 9/15/2001 -John Richards KEXP

The KEXP Top 90.3 Album Charts for entire year of 2001 went like this:

#20 The Beta Band  -  Hot Shots II

#19 Spoon -- Girls Can Tell

#18 The Old 97's  -- Satellite Rides

#17 Lucinda Williams -- Essence

#16 Sigur Ros  -- Agaetis Byrjun

#15 Guided By Voices -- Isolation Drills

#14 Fugazi  -- The Argument

#13 Sparklehorse -- It's A Wonderful Life

#12 Dear John Letters -- Rewriting The Wrongs

#11 Radiohead -- I Might Be Wrong

#10 Ryan Adams -- Gold

#9 Gillian Welch -- Time (The Revelator)

#8 Gorillaz -- Gorillaz

#7 Built To Spill -- Ancient Melodies of the Future

#6 The White Stripes -- White Blood Cells

#5 The Shins -- Oh, Inverted World

#4 Death Cab For Cutie The Photo Album

#3 Bjork -- Vespertine

#2 The Strokes -- Is This It

#1 Radiohead -- Amnesiac

DEAR JOHN LETTERS was on the TOP 20 NORTH WEST CHARTS for 22 weeks in 2001, here is an example of just one of the weeks as reported by the STRANGER

Local musicians: Buzz, Beatles comparisons build for Dear John Letters - Seattle times article on Dear John Letters

Rewriting the Wrongs
(Roam Records)


The hard-working and prolific Robb Benson is back with another incarnation for his deft and delicately written love songs. This project includes local producer Johnny Sangster, Radio Nationals guitarist Richard Davidson, and percussionist Cassady Laton. The foundation for success, however, lies in the collaboration between Benson and poet/lyricist Michelle Price, whose words mesh so intricately with these melodies it's hard to imagine they're not born of the same body. Rewriting the Wrongs moves effortlessly through lush vocal harmonies and sweetly persuasive song structures. Often gentle and wholesome, sometimes acrimonious, Benson's songwriting warmly refers to the Beatles, and incorporates a little alt-country flavor into his unique approach. Aside from a few ballsy Bachelors-style rock tunes, the album's instrumentation thankfully leans toward the sparse and delicate style developed in Benson's recent solo work, leaving room to breathe, and, most importantly, to let his soul-stirring voice shine as brightly as it wants to. "A Dear John Letter" is a heartbreaking internal dialogue over a severed relationship and the turmoil of self-doubt and regret, amplified by a Robert Pollard-esque muffled vocal effect and gentle string accompaniment. There are moments when the production sounds a bit thin, but the songs burst with skill, all minor technical imperfections more than made up for with sincerity, zeal, and wistful charm. CORIANTON HALE.

2002 show preview


(Crocodile Cafe) The band of importance here chose the name Dear John Letters, and as far as bands go, it tops all the charts, as far as charts go. Born from the union of an indie-rocker he and a lithe poet she--DJL nevertheless soars over the expected mushy muck and lands, feet first and running, with a blend of McCartney-colored Beatles singsong, They Might Be Giants geniality, and Jeff Tweedy alt-country earnestness. The singer/song-sire of the group is Robb Benson, an unfairly talented fellow, who has been doing the band thing for 10 years, most recently releasing the beautiful solo EP Songs about Songs. This show will top all others and will be replayed on MiniDAT player/recorders, in zero-cross distortion digital playback, all summer long. -JOSH UHLIR - THE STRANGER