Songwriters Showcase

Songwriters Showcase

Grassroots Christian songwriters

Jon Hultman


Jon HultmanJon B. Hultman is a songwriter who seeks to capture in words and music the Christian’s struggle to live for God in a fallen world – the flesh warring against the spirit. The words are based on Scripture to varying degrees, and the music draws on numerous Christian and secular influences and on Jon’s own eclectic musical past. Jon is also an occasional bass player at various venues at his home church, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.

Before he was saved, Jon played in too many bands to count, in styles ranging from ska to bluegrass, from old-school funk to alternative rock. He was a founding member and songwriter for Section 8, a big-band funk act that took Los Angeles by storm in the early 1990s. He then moved to San Diego, where he formed the legendary alternative rock band Bunji Thump with Pierre de Gaillande (now of Melomane), with whom he shared songwriting and lead vocal duties. This duo later became co-hosts of the open mic night at San Diego’s premier nightclub, The Casbah, where they welcomed just about every musician who was somebody (or nobody) on the San Diego scene in that day, including what may have been the first public performance by Jewel after she moved to the area from Alaska.

During that period, Jon was ubiquitous on the San Diego scene, playing in at least two or three bands at any given time. He played bass with California ska sensation Gangbusters, electric washtub bass with folk and bluegrass mainstays The Floyds (featuring Steve Schaaf and the late Larry Brown), keyboards with jam band/alternative favorites Fusebox, bass and vocals with the funkafied progressive rock trio Toadstool (with drummer Zak Najor and guitarist Brian Schnepp), and bass and vocals with stoner rock favorite Huge (featuring De Gaillande and keyboardist Robert Walter). During this stretch of time, Jon’s bands shared the stage with such acts as No Doubt, Rage Against the Machine, Fishbone, Violent Femmes, Vic Chesnutt, The Special Beat (members of The Specials and English Beat), Jambay, H.R. (of Bad Brains), Drive Like Jehu, Buck O’Nine, and Bad Manners.

In late 1994, in what was obvious only in retrospect to be providential, all of Jon’s bands broke up more or less simultaneously, and most of his friends moved away from San Diego. Having little reason to stay, Jon moved back to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in UCLA Extension’s Songwriting Certificate Program. Under the tutelage of legendary lyricist Marty Panzer, Jon honed his writing skills and took a step back from performing. He developed a unique style of lyrics that was clever, meticulously crafted, and dripping with Gen-X style sarcasm and cynicism.

During this time, Jon also began attending church and reading the Bible. He became a believer, and was baptized on Easter Sunday in 1996. Although he still enjoyed playing music, writing had become an exercise in futility. Although he desired to write songs that reflected his newfound faith rather than the sarcasm and cynicism of the times, everything he wrote sounded hackneyed and clichéd. Unable to adequately express his faith through his songs, Jon decided to put songwriting behind him and focus on other pursuits. Finally, after nearly a ten-year layoff from songwriting, Jon began to develop ideas in his head for new songs. This time, the songs flowed out almost effortlessly. After ten years of failing miserably at living the Christian life, he finally had enough real life experience to sing in his own distinctive lyrical style about how the word of God plays out in the real life of a Christian.

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