Two Piedmont men who thrive as rock and rhythm and blues artists could also be viewed as musical philosophers. The intensity of their onstage sound is equaled only by their passion for the role of music and its impact on humanity.
Seeking musical perfection underpins their performances.
On April 20 they will release their first album, titled “Kingdom From.” It will be available from Spotify and iTunes.
The exceptional talent these men possess seems secondary to how they see their craft and commitment to be the best. They know full-well such intensity is critical in achieving artistic and financial acclaim.
But ultimately, their philosophical insights on music stand above success. Music reflects their emotional and artistic core.
“I believe that artists serve a vital and nearly biological function for humanity. Musicians stand on the border of nature and culture and look into it, tell the truth of those stories and enrich the lives of people,” John Schreiner said.
Schreiner, 31, married with a newborn son, is the leader and multi-instrument virtuoso of the group simply called Schreiner as in “Schreiner is finer.” His onstage reflection is bass player Jay Glaspy.
“I met John at the New Life Church in Gainesville shortly after moving here in 2014. My wife and I attended our first service there during the Christmas season, to meet people since we were new to the area. John was the worship leader at the time, and he played in the church group,” said Glaspy.
“After seeing the band play, I wondered if they needed a bass player. They did. And after a couple of years of playing together, we formed Schreiner. Attending that church service was probably the most important thing that happened in my life.”
That’s not an idle sentiment, since Glaspy, 41, is a recently retired Green Beret. He served five combat tours in Afghanistan in the Special Forces and had earned a Bronze Star for valor at the time he met Schreiner.
He was working in cybersecurity for a year after his military service but realized after joining forces with Schreiner that he wanted to pursue music full time.
Today, their three-piece band is a tight unit, with one of four skilled drummers performing with them based on availability.
Schreiner grew up in Warrenton; his family moved here when he was 12. That’s when he began writing and playing Christian contemporary music.
“I knew I was going to be a professional musician when I was 9 years old. Music has been the defining feature of my life,” he said.
He started college in Minnesota but later transferred to Lee University in Tennessee, graduating with a degree in vocal music performance. For most of his college years, he studied opera and performed in numerous operatic roles. “I thought for a time I would pursue opera professionally. I knew I had the chops for it,” he said.
He also played in a Christian band called Myrrh, releasing two albums before deciding to shift to country music with the release of his third album.
His eventual evolution to blended rock and rhythm and blues came when he realized, “You kind of pursue rock at your own peril because of the demands it places on your voice. That’s why I wound up between rock and R&B. Those are the juicy genres for me and the most challenging,” he said.
His musical education led him to want “to become the best singer in the world.” He practiced tirelessly during his college years to hone the quality of his voice and his musical instrument.
Today he lives in Paris, Virginia, and performs 300 shows a year as both a solo artist, and increasingly, with his own band. His solo gigs include weekly performances at Mastro’s, a high-end steakhouse in the heart of D.C. He is also well-known for his private party and corporate Fortune 500 performances, including shows at the MGM National Harbor Hotel.
Glaspy grew up in Los Angeles and is a lifelong music fan. He was a high-school athlete and joined the U.S. Army at age 18. Within three years he was accepted into the Special Forces, after meeting its demanding requirements.
As fate would have it, he joined the elite command just before 9/11 and was deployed shortly thereafter with multiple combat tours in Afghanistan. He currently lives in Haymarket with his wife and two children.
Glaspy makes an insightful comparison between a high-caliber musician and a warrior.
“Working with an elite musician like John, I saw the same traits as being a member of the Special Forces. They share a strong work ethic and a relentless desire to master their craft.
“And it never ends. Always seeking to improve and get better is the goal in both disciplines,” he said. “I took those principles and applied them to my music. Like the military, you find a good teacher and put in the hours to become successful.”
One of his go-to books embodying that principle is titled "The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How." by Daniel Coyle.
The book says, "We tend to only see the end result when we watch masters in action. What we do not see are the 10,000 hours of hard work that went into that one moment. We become masters of our life through the same long-term, step-by-step process."
Schreiner and Glaspy embody those principles each time they step on stage.
“It is constant work to make a dent in the music industry. John and I work really hard on what we do,” said Glaspy.
Schreiner will perform live on April 20 at 8:30 p.m. at Uptown Alley in Manassas, concurrent with the release of the of their first album, “Kingdom From.”
Cuts from two of the album’s songs, along with their performance schedule, can be found at www.schreinermusic.com.
Or catch them in a this YouTube performance of “Kingdom From”
Watch the video here:
Ideally, you’ll be present on April 20 to see in person what may well be the launch of the next big story in today’s music.
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