John Duggleby has spent over 40 years as a professional writer and musician, including over 30 as head of his own firm, Duggleby Communications. Although he has amassed a body of published work ranging from annual reports to music videos for corporate clients such as BP and Motorola, his greatest joy comes from documenting American high and low culture. His hundreds of national magazine articles have covered quests for aliens, Elvis and modern-day romance, the latter of which prompted the late Ann Landers to comment, “You write like a dream.” Book subjects include entrepreneur Ed Lowe, who gave us Kitty Litter, and direct marketing maven Lillian Vernon.
In recent years, John has focused on the arts with books for children and young adults including his most recent 2019 book Dipper: How Louis Armsrong Found his Groove, published under his Creamworks imprint. Other arts-related books include Imagine: John Lennon’s Musical Odyssey (Morgan Reynolds, 2006), Uh Huh! The Life of Ray Charles (Morgan Reynolds, 2005), Story Painter: The Life of Jacob Lawrence (Chronicle 1998) and Artist in Overalls: The Life of Grant Wood (Chronicle, 1996). Other recent work includes his Kickstarter-funded story of his beloved former pooch, Oti’s Odyssey: A Rescue Dog’s “Tail”(Creamworks 2015). Duggleby’s work has received recognition including, twice, the National Council for Social Studies’ Carter Woodson Award as Elementary School Book of the Year and Secondary School Runner-Up.
Musically, John made his performing debut at age five at the Sunset Supper Club in Muscatine, Iowa, warbling, “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” after the piano man bribed him with a nickel. He grew up as a percussionist playing everything from orchestra tympani to garage band rock and roll. As an adult he learned guitar as a more benign living room alternative. John has labored in several underappreciated rock, Cajun, bluegrass and world music ensembles, but his main “gig” these days is playing over 100 one-man and duo shows a year at venues ranging from festivals and brewpubs to libraries and senior centers. His songbook ranges from Stephen Foster and George M. Cohan to Beatles and Bruce Springsteen-- as well as his own compositions-- accompanied on guitar, mandolin, ukulele, drums and other percussion. He also leads drum circles and kitchen bands for groups from kids to seniors and disabled people. His work has received grants from Dane Arts and Power2give.
After realizing a decades-long dream with the 2014 release of his first-ever album, Better Late Than Never,
in 2019 he completed a double album containing 20 original songs called Castaway
. Both can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/duggleby
. His songs have been finalists in the Great American and Great River Folk Festival Songwriting Contests, and Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAS); as well as runner-up in the international www.SongoftheYear.com
competition. John, who has received 2nd place for Singer/Songwriters in the Isthmus “Madison’s Favorites” reader’s poll, founded and formerly hosted a monthly Songwriter Showcase at an area coffeehouse. He was named 2020 and 2021 Children’s Performer of the Year by MAMA.
John holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Iowa, and has done graduate work in Mass Communications at the University of Illinois. He currently lives with his wife and Mineral Point native Jude Thomas Duggleby in the Madison, Wisconsin area.