Indie artist Steve Johnson hails from British Columbia, Canada where he created his very first album Where City and Country Meet. Rich harmonica sounds, melodic vocals, acoustic guitars and much more combine to create his own brand of folk/pop/country with a slash of americana. Johnson tackles everything on the album. This multi-faceted artist pens his own lyrics, plays the harmonica, strums the guitar and beats the drums while also handling all the engineering and production. The album comes in at an overwhelming sixteen songs but the songwriting is consistently impressive. Their are very few moments here with nothing to offer.
Johnson has a deep, surly voice that reminded me of Johnny Cash combined with Daughn Gibson. The instrumentation throughout is engaging and creative but it's ultimately his vocals that hold down the fort.
There are a surplus of quality songs so it's hard to pick highlights. My suggestion is to just hit play and let the songs come one after another. "My favorite eraser" is a solid opener which displays his skills as songwriter. It didn't take me much time for me to start enjoying the quality of his voice. "Street talkin" is another exceptional song which combines a sense of melancholy and hope.
With sharp electric guitar and effective drum beats, Johnson helps introduce us to his music by playing a number of covers including “Femme Fatale” and “Bankers Blues”. While some might recognize the catchy tunes, the singer does an impressive job of adding his own spin on things.
One thing I would have liked to hear is better production. It isn't bad but more seperation between the instruments and a stronger mid-range would have helped the impact of the songs.
With a pen and his instruments this Steve Johnson is a versatile artist who most importantly creates songs which are a pleasure to listen to. I would love to see what Steve Johnson could do with a little help from a background band composed of accomplished musicians. With his first full length album released almost a year ago in April 2014, hopefully he has a few more tricks up his creative sleeve.
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