On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Evergreen music lovers and “flatlanders” broke away from the spring-like weather and entered the dimly lit Little Bear to hear Jon Lundberg & The Locals perform a song list ranging from Johnny Cash to Tom Petty, Dwight Yoakum to Amos Lee. At the center of the group of highly talented musicians was Jon, the engaging lead singer, whose stage presence, energy and good-natured humor created a natural connection with the audience.

This front man has taken a seemingly circuitous route to becoming an Evergreen resident and favored performer. From Mizpah, Minnesota to Nashville, Tennessee to a cabin in Genesee, Colorado, Jon’s journey has been rich with experiences that have impacted his perspectives on life and music.

“ …Jon’s journey has been rich with experiences that have impacted his perspectives on life and music.”

The Heart of a Drummer

One of Jon’s biggest influences was his dad who worked on a cattle ranch during the week and played timpani in church on Sundays. When he was 9 years old, Jon naturally chose the drums as his instrument and played snare in concert band. His eyes would soon be opened to other possibilities. “My cousin’s roommate had a drum set and I thought it was so amazing,” Jon said. “They taught me a trashcan beat and I practiced it over and over. I would lie in bed thinking about how soon I could play again.”

Jon’s dream of being a drummer came closer the afternoon his father came home in his Ford Bronco with a drum set in the back. “It was a six-piece, black set. The heads didn’t match, and the cymbals were broken,” he remembers. “My dad found it at a garage sale, and I loved it. I was recruited for pep band and got to wail away.”

Jon’s father also helped him select the first recording he could purchase with his allowance. “I went to Target, excited to buy my first cassette with my own money—MC Hammer’s ‘Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em,’ which I wanted for the song, ‘U Can’t Touch This,’” said Jon. “When I went back to the car, my dad took one look and vetoed my choice. We walked back into the store, and he exchanged it for ‘Led Zeppelin II.’ I was blown away!”

Finding His Voice

The enthusiastic percussionist found his second avocation backstage listening to a school choir rehearsal. “Mrs. Koski, a teacher whom you don’t say ‘no’ to, auditioned me and I became a tenor,” he said. In his senior year, Jon formed a duo, a barbershop quartet and learned from Mr. Koski how to play guitar so he could lead kindergarteners in a performance of “Must Be Santa.”

Jon’s vocal harmonization was nurtured by his family. “We were going to a family friend’s house for dinner in our station wagon. Dad put in a Beach Boys cassette and “Barbar’ Ann” came on. We all started singing in four-part harmony,” Jon recalls. “When we pulled into our host’s driveway and we were only halfway through the song, Dad put the car in park so we could finish. We were singing as a family as there was nothing else to think about.”

When it came time for college, Jon attended the University of Minnesota before finding a better fit at

St. Cloud State College where he pursued theater. During his bartending stint at The Red Carpet live music venue, Jon was exposed to musicians who made a lasting impact on him. “The McKinley Place duo performed with more energy than a nine-piece band,” he said. “They inspired me to re-invent myself.”

Flipping the Script in Nashville

Jon’s “reinvention” meant a move to Nashville. He attended Middle Tennessee State College to pursue a degree in Recording Industry Management, took a job with an auto auction company, and worked at a bookstore near Vanderbilt University. In Music City, Jon found his groove. He secured a dream internship with Cal IV Entertainment on Music Row converting demo cassette recordings into mp3 files and typing song lyrics into a database. “I was in the room with producers and music executives,” he said. “I learned so much about the business of music and what it takes to have a hit song.” The production company saw potential in Jon and offered him a full-time job. “But I realized I was a servant of their creative ideas rather than my own, so I didn’t take the job,” said Jon. Instead, he continued to earn decent money at the auto auction and met “Dan the Dent Man.” Dan taught him how to be a remove and install technician (pulling out taillights and headliners) as part of a paintless dent repair team. Jon joined a crew of technicians and went on the road for 13 months to wherever hailstorms had struck, including several trips to the Denver area.

It All Depends on the Weather

In 2016, Jon got a call to assist one of his collision shop accounts on the Front Range. He rented a cabin in Genesee and bought a ski pass. During an Après Ski stop in Keystone, Jon’s musical journey took another turn. “My buddy and I went to Last Lift Bar where two guys were playing music. They had a cajon and asked if anyone in the audience could play it and join them for a song or two,” Jon explains. “So, I did—still in my ski gear—and I knew all their songs.” Jon was hired by The Swing Crew to play cajon and sing harmony for seven weekends during ski season.

Jon’s story had another twist in May 2023 when the enormous hailstorm decimated property and cars in Lakewood. He returned to Genesee and got to work. Jon also entered the local music scene performing at the Genesee Pub & BBQ and landing a fairly regular Saturday afternoon gig at The Little Bear.

When Jon settled into a home in the Forest Hill neighborhood and realized the challenge of removing snow from a steep driveway, he searched on Craigslist for a four-wheeler with a plow. He bought one from Jarret Schaub, a third-generation luthier, owner of Schaub Haus, and bass guitar player. Jon and Jarret quickly discovered musical kinship. Today they perform as an acoustic duo and Jarret regularly joins Jon Lundberg & the Locals as bass guitarist. “Jarret pulls it all together,” said Jon. “The bass is the link between the rhythm and vocals and Jarret is that connection for me.”

As Jon reflects on the many switchbacks along his trek, he realizes that each has been an opportunity to learn and to expand his idea of what is possible.

“I always say the best thing you can do is learn how to be okay when you’re uncomfortable,” Lundberg reflects. “I try to do the work without thinking about it too much. I try to play to my strengths and surround myself with more talented people. That’s where the magic is.”

Note: John Lundberg & the Locals will next perform at The Little Bear from 2-6 on Saturday, February 24. Jon works with his brother and sister-in-law in their dent repair business, The Standard Dent Company.