I like to write lists.
Shopping lists, things to do lists, foods to avoid lists(yep-gluten free here;) and the most cherished of all my lists-Song lists. But even though it might appear to the outside world I am a very organised person it is all quite random and has a lot to do with my memory abandoning me in my teens like an uncaring & selfish mother (*Legal appendix*- in case my Mother is reading this-My Mother never abandoned me in my teens, in fact she was and indeed remains very loyal and loving and still reminds me of this on the phone every other day, lest I forget).
Any road up, the randomness of my lists was never more apparent than on my song lists, I never stuck to one type of music oh no. Why should I? I always thought it was the natural thing to love music from all over the place, in all styles as long as it felt good to me. I could never hang my flag onto just one or two genre’s alone, ok so they are places I don’t go-heavy metal & death metal-I salute you but only because you scare me the granny out of me.
Mostly though I welcome all sounds to my door.
And I want to share with you an artist up high on my latest list who does indeed sound special to me and hopefully to you – Ady Johnson.
So how did I find myself getting into the ragtime bluesy folky pop music of Ady Johnson?
Well sinners, as in many of the best of stories it started with a Reverend; the Reverend Simpkins to be exact – a wonderfully warm individual who with a guitar or a fiddle in his hand turns into someone as mad as a box of frogs (sorry all the sane box of frogs out there). I met him online (MySpace or some such) and was won over by a musical style that has seen him described as “A Sinner Songwriter”.
The back story is that Rev Simpkins used to be in a great indie band with Ady Johnson called Fuzzface and after a fashion they launched solo career’s (which interestingly sees the Rev actually about to commence studying towards ordination in the Anglican church to become a real Reverend).
I was personally introduced to the smashing bloke that is Ady Johnson by a great champion of new music – Ben Howard (no, not the singer)! I found myself at first intrigued, then bowled over by his music – it’s like Tom Waits & Steve Marriott have got together to rough up Graham Coxon around the back of the bike sheds.
I got hold of a copy of his debut album ‘Tell the Worry Dolls’ and have had it on repeat on the kitchen stereogram (the best place to enjoy music I find). We suggest that if you give this album a chance it will grow on you like best friends tend to do.
On some of his songs he sounds like he has run away from the Salvation Army band to join the circus – and on others he lays his heart on his sleeve with a deft touch of teasing melody & emotion. His voice moves from growl to caress in equal measures. It’s really refreshing to find someone offering such great dynamic range in their songs aligned to a keen pop sensibility that follows its own path whilst still offering enough of the best things that naturally attract your eardrums.
I liked him so much I invited him recently to come to Snippet Towers and sing in my shed. Now this might sound like a weird thing to do but if you see my shed I’m sure you’ll understand (see video below).
London based Ady Johnson is certainly attracting a growing band of followers to the bluesy folk growl of his live shows. I’ve seen him play live a few times now and was lucky to witness his best performance yet IMO at The Little Rabbit Barn this past weekend. No rabbits were involved – just a lovely intimate wooden barn, hosting live music in Essex. Ady gave a mesmerising show in a simplistic setting of A Man And His Guitar. Do check him out - what a lovely racket he makes.
Now where did I put my pen and pad ? I feel another list coming on.