Singer-songwriter, Dan Johnson's latest album is a superb example of homage and reverence for legendary artistic influences, brought together with the glue of distinct individualism and uniqueness.
Texas Country fans are falling in love with the resulting marriage of a straightforward approach to well crafted lyrics and a musical presence that fills out the shape of the sound in all the right places.
Johnson, whose prior work leaned more toward an acoustic, solo, Americana style, wanted to create a markedly hotter and harder driving electric sound with this, his first release with a full band. "My dad was a guitarist and loved Southern Rock, so I grew up with a lot of Allman Brothers and Skynyrd. I fell in love with the strength of instantly recognizable guitar licks from guys like Dickey Betts."
Johnson's lyrical influences shine throughout the album as well. The style is poignant and often emotionally moving, with sparing but meaningful use of metaphor and poetic color. "Every time I listen to a Kristofferson album, I think to myself, 'Oh that's where I got that sound.'"
Walt Wilkins, who Johnson credits as his primary inspiration and role model, teams up with him on the song "Troubadour's Prayer," a powerfully moving message, not only for those who pursue a career in music but for anyone who finds the courage to follow their dreams, despite the hardships they know lay before them. "A Place to Call Home," Johnson's six minute anthem (complete with string section) is a gripping story of gratitude to the love of his life and regularly leaves listeners in tears.
One of the greatest beauties of Texas Music is the latitude it gives artists to push the bounds of the genre, whether talking about pioneers like Steve Earle or Ray Wylie Hubbard or some of the amazing younger folks on the scene such as Band of Heathens or Uncle Lucius. "The genre is like a playground, and I absolutely love it," says Johnson. On artistic comparisons, he remarks, "I'