Secondhand Serenade will perform on stage at the Sherman Theater on November 14

Emo. The word itself is loaded – beautiful and expressive for those who get it, nerve-wracking and dramatic for those who don’t. By definition, “emo” is short for “emotion”, and as a musical genre, there’s no more apt way to describe it.

For Secondhand Serenade, a solo project led by vocalist/guitarist John Vesely, the music is more than just “emo.” For Vesely, it’s about creating a connection with the listener.

With lyrics such as, “The best thing about tonight is that we’re not fighting… Could it be that we’ve been like this before” and “I know you don’t think that I’m trying… I know you are exhausting to the core,” Vesely was able to create an artistic, relatable and approachable sound.

These last lyrics come from what is arguably Vesely’s greatest hit: “Fall for You”. The double-platinum-certified song, which peaked in 2008 at No. 8 on the Billboard Pop 100 and No. 21 on the Hot 100 chart, has its own Wikipedia page.

Vesely said he was inspired by life experience when writing “Fall for You”.

“It was a song that I didn’t even think would make the album. And of course, it would become my biggest hit.” Vesely wrote in an email to Pocono Record. “That’s how the world works. But I wrote that one on the piano, and believe it or not, it was actually the first song I ever wrote on the piano. So that process on its own was a bit different for me.

“But lyrically, I was still writing about my life and something that I had experienced in a relationship.”

Vesely released a new single on November 12 “which is about as heavy and punchy” as it gets, while sounding “really uplifting and positive”. He said he “can’t wait” for the world to hear the new single.

“It’s special on so many levels.”

Lucky Poconos fans can hear Secondhand Serenade play a show at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on November 14, with guests The Dangerous Summer and Say We Can Fly.

This will be Vesely’s first time at the Burg.

“There aren’t many places in the country where I haven’t played yet, so it’s always fun to do another ‘first show’ in a city. I’m really looking forward to it. “, Vesely said.

A touch emo

The emo music genre likely originated in the punk, indie and alternative rock movements of the 80s and 90s, before catching fire in the early 2000s. Vesely, originally from California, started out as a solo acoustic artist because he “n didn’t really have the resources to start a band”.

“So I did it all myself,” he said.

Vesely said he spent his teenage years in several different bands and “never intended to sing”. He eventually inherited the frontman role after one of the bands he played bass for had a lead vocalist leave the band.

He “just sort of accepted” from there.

Once that band broke up, Vesely said he “got to write songs, mostly to impress the girl I was with at the time.”

“So I learned to play guitar, started writing and eventually turned those early songs into my debut album, ‘Awake’.”

“When I started writing, I didn’t really see it as looking for an emo sound…or a particular sound,” he said. “I just wrote how I felt at the time, usually about my relationship.”

The “emo twist” came naturally, since he only had his acoustic guitar and his voice.

John Vesely will perform his solo number Secondhand Serenade in Stroudsburg for the first time on November 14.

“I didn’t really want to sound like anyone else, but I still wanted the songs to be digestible and relatable,” Vesely said, noting that he’s influenced by his own situation and the people around him. .

“My wife influences my current work, obviously, and I’m lucky to live in Nashville where there are so many creative people in the music industry, so being inspired is pretty easy,” he said. . “In my early years I listened to a lot of bands like The Get Up Kids, Saves the Day, Dashboard Confessional and Something Corporate.”

After Vesely signed with a label, he cut an album with a “full band” sound, which led to “a lot of touring with different variations of a full band”.

He has since returned to his roots and is touring solo again.

“The (Just Because You Sing Loud) tour is actually the first in many years that I’ve taken other guys on stage with me. So I’m really looking forward to getting back to a bit of a band vibe, “, Vesely said. “It definitely adds to the live show and overall experience for me and my fans.”

“More of a Feeling”

Over the years, Second Serenade has played around with different sounds, ranging from more acoustic to something cleaner and fuller, while still maintaining that emo vibe.

Vesely described this growth into a sound that remains “definitely emo”, and according to him it “always will be”, noting that a fuller sound was needed on some albums and tours.

After spending the pandemic working on his own music and writing and producing projects for other artists (which he says he “really enjoys”), Vesely says a new Secondhand Serenade album will be released in 2022.

“I think the songs I’m sitting on now are going to work really well for fans of the acoustic sound as well as for fans of the songs that feel a bit more complete and clean, production-wise,” Vesely said.

“And I’m sure I’ll always have the emo tag…no way around it – which is fine with me.”

For Vesely, music is “more of a feeling” than something that should be defined by genre, as long as his fans connect emotionally with his work.

“That’s all I care about,” he said.

Despite a sad sound that can permeate the musical genre, Secondhand’s emo version can be described as “heartwarming”.

When asked if there was a mission in his music, Vesely said he tries to produce work that is relatable and “emotional” while maintaining a “recognizable yet characteristic sound”.

“Most people have been through the ups and downs of relationships, so I hope my music can help create special moments or bring back special memories.” Vessely said. “More than anything, I just want my fans to connect with the songs in the way that suits them. And I hope that inspires them to come and create new moments at one of my concerts.”

If you are going to

What: Secondhand Serenade: The Just Because You Sing Loud Tour with The Dangerous Summer and Say We Can Fly.

When: Doors 6 p.m., show starts at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov.

Or: Sherman Theater, 524 Main Street, Stroudsburg

Cost: $20 tickets in advance, $25 day of show

Information: Show for all ages, you must be 21 to drink. For tickets and more information:

Ashley Fontones is the managing editor of Pocono Record and enjoys writing about local arts, culture and folklore from time to time. Contact her at [email protected]

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