South African guitarist/singer Jonathan Butler brings global music to Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa

Photo by Raj Naik

Written by Debbie Hall and photo by Raj Naik

South African guitarist/singer Jonathan Butler, who first gained fame covering a Burt Bacharach song, brings a holiday sound to Las Vegas. He joins Dave Koz for the 21st annual Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour 2018. Other special guests include pop/blues saxophonist/singer Mindi Abair for her debut Christmas Tour appearance; Japanese keyboard sensation Keiko Matsui; and up-and-coming artist Sheléa. The show will be performed in the Red Rock Ballroom at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa on Dec. 14.

Butler’s life and career have spanned several decades of turbulence from growing up and living in Apartheid South Africa to immigrating to England and then the United States. Along the way, he gained a worldwide audience, raised his children, and survived divorce.

He was awarded a recording contract at the age of 12 and covered Bacharach’s song, Please Stay, which reached No. 2 on the pop charts in South Africa. Bacharach and lyricist Hal David have written timeless classics about love, loss, and hope. Butler released his 23rd album Close To You featuring his reinterpretations of Bacharach’s most loved hits.

The 11-song project features 10 of Bacharach/David catalog from the mid-1960s to early ’70s including vocal versions of “The Look Of Love,” “Walk On By,” “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,” “This Guy’s In Love With You” and the lead single “What The World Needs Now Is Love.” The instrumental versions of “Do You Know The Way To San Jose” and “I Say A Little Prayer” are also included as well as Butler’s autobiographical, original song “Cape Town.”

“It is timeless, classic pieces of music,” Butler says. “The inspiration was that one night I was playing ‘Close to You,’ with my fiancée and my kids and I realized how poignant this music is for my season of life. I needed to pursue this, so I called my manager, told him what I wanted to do and he was excited about the idea.”

There is the song “Alfie” that a singer must reach a level of maturity to capture its essence. “The lyric is so profound. At the start, I am having a chat with the listener. Then at the end where it says, ‘Without love, we just exist’…what a revelation! We all have many things to sort out in life but this is said in such a beautiful way. ‘When you walk, let your heart lead the way / Then you’ll find love any day.’”

Butler also wanted to pay tribute to a time where lyrics, melodies, and chord changes were so beautiful and he gave it a South African flavor.

Butler loves playing Vegas and finds the city very fun, even with his family. He will be performing as a featured performer in Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour 2018 in the Red Rock Ballroom at Red Rock Casino on Dec. 14. For tickets, click here.


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