Ben Johnson
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Ben Johnson

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States | INDIE

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States | INDIE
Band Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Wildy's World CD Review of Make It Bloom"

Wildy’s World Review: Ben Johnson – Make It Bloom
Friday, January 30, 2009

Ben Johnson - Make It Bloom
2007, Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson's involvement and training in music runs the gamut from opera to jazz to world music to rock n roll. One of his previous bands, a salsa act named Mambo Jumbo opened for the Dave Matthews Band during the 2002 Olympics. His musical experiences and exposure lead to Make It Bloom, a diverse and wide ranging album full of sounds you may not always hear on one album, but which work amazingly well together for all of that. Johnson plays bass and sings on the album, but also recorded all acoustic guitar and piano parts in the studio. He's joined by Anthony Phan on Rhodes Piano, trumpet and vocals, and Randy Herbert on drums.

Johnson gets off very much on the right foot with New Sonata. This is an amazing pop song that is so catchy it might invoke a quarantine. Imagine if Ben Folds wrote happy pop songs and you get the general idea ("Boom shadda shadda boom boom shadda / I found paradise within your personna / Boom shadda shadda boom boom shadda / You're the kind of inspiration for my new sonata"). Pulling a prompt 180, Johnson launches into the maudlin love song Untame. It's a hard change of pace, as its difficult to rectify the Johnson we hear on New Sonata with the one we hear on Untame, but both songs work in their own right. Way Back East is a melancholic pop tune with bright/dark ambivalence that makes it an intriguing listen.

Up With The Flow has a quirky feel to it that is charming. The rhythmic acoustic guitar arrangement underneath keeps this one moving until the chorus kicks in with muted pop grandeur. One of my personal favorites here is Life, Easier. Johnson unleashes the funk on a limited basis here, with a guitar riff opening that's as nasty as they come. This one is something of a guitar anthem on the chorus, with minimal instrumentation on the verses. Internal Bleeding heads back into Ben Folds territory, sounding like an outtake from Rheinhold Messner. Other highlights here include O Town, Equilibrium and Way Back East.

Ben Johnson brings a fun and quirky sense to his music, highlighted by a real flair for the essence of pop music. Lyrically he presents some awkward moments at times, but these are almost more notable as marks of his musical character than flaws in writing. The song New Sonata is something special. In New Sonata Johnson has created one of those pop moments that either spark long and successful careers or memorialize bands as one hit wonders. It all depends on what follows of course, but New Sonata is an IT song. The sort that, released to pop radio in late spring/early summer with the right push could dominate the airwaves all summer long. If Johnson has anything else up his sleeve along that line he'll be with us for a long, long time. Even without New Sonata, Make It Bloom is a worthy effort.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
- Wildy's World

"Salt Lake City Weekly Review of Ben Johnson-Make It Bloom"

Salt Lake City Weekly
-Local CD Review

**** Holy Grail
***Ark of the Covenant
**Sankara Stones
*Crystal Skulls

Ben Johnson-Make It Bloom ***
If Let's Become Actors keeps spawning impressive solo releases, someone may have to start slapping them with anti-monopoly suits. While Michael Gross' Tales From a Country Home explored darker material, LBA bassist/guitarist/jack-of-all-trades Ben Johnson keeps things poppy on Make It Bloom. The opening track "New Sonata" mixes hunky-dory piano-driven rock with some refreshing experimentalism (think Ben Folds meets Aqueduct), and "Candy Lipstick.Hurricanes" turns an oppressing guitar intro into a spacey, synth-driven calypso. Although 'Make It Bloom' is full of the winning LBA/pop-formula, the album could benefit from some editing: Many tracks venture near the five-minute mark, often prolonged by unnecessary guitar solos. But, when Johnson gets it right-like on the dreamy ballad "Internal Bleeding" -it's hard to not want more. (
- Salt Lake City Weekly

"Slug Magazine CD Review of Ben Johnson-Make It Bloom"

Ben Johnson
Make It Bloom
Street: 2007
Ben Johnson=Frank Sinatra+Franz Ferdinand(vocals)+Flaming Lips

Oh my! I don't know what I was expecting with this CD....actually, I thought it was going to be second-rate, diluted folk music; something about the calligraphy font on the front cover. But the album opens up with a big, classy, big band-era sound rock extravaganza and goes on from there to 40s and 50s crooner hits with "fun" pschedelia thrown in (think Flaming Lips, not Jefferson Airplane). Then some stuff comes off like smooth recent indie singer-songwriter rock with some clean prog. Make It Bloom is chockful 0' personality. I don't think I've quite ever heard indie rock done like this, but then again, maybe that's cause I don't listen to New Prornographers and Shins. Rich horns contribute to the classy, festive air; piano lines glimmer in "Leave of Absensce." Synths peek out from time to time. It's very unique, very earnest and somewhat quirky. All in all, quite tasty. -Rebecca Vernon - Slug Magazine-Rebecca Vernon


Ben Johnson "Make It Bloom"
"New Sonata," and "Up with a Flow" have been played on several radio stations.
Steaming songs:
New Sonata, Up with a Flow, Bionic, Candy Lipstick Hurricaines, Fuzzy, My Baby. Listen to and download Ben Johnson's songs at:



Ben Johnson has always been involved in music. Singing Opera throughout high school and going on to study Jazz Composition and Performance at the University of Utah, Ben has studied and performed music from all over the world. He played in a world music band, "Nova Paradiso," for 6 years, and then a salsa band "Mambo Jumbo" who opened for Dave Matthews during the Olympics in 2002. With a love for Rock and Roll with influences like Queen, Muse, Coldplay, Bloc Party, and many others, Ben is continuously writing new songs. With his second album on the way, Ben already has enough songs to fill a third.
Anthony Phan started with piano and then moved to trumpet, playing jazz and composing all kinds of other music. Randy Herbert has Played with so many people, and continues to rock the drums. Visit: