Hunter Johnson
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Hunter Johnson

Ashburn, Virginia, United States

Ashburn, Virginia, United States
Band Americana Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Albums that deserve your ears"

Enter Americana at its finest. Despite The Very First being a collection of demos from Hunter Johnson spanning November 2011 to September 2012 rather than a true album, it should be in your collection if you’re a fan of blues, folk, Americana, etc. I’ve been scouring the internet for a while now trying to find some new roots music like this, so it feels like a personal accomplishment on my part.

For those who’ve had doubt in them, heartbreak put on them, struggle within and without them, moments of solitude, moments of anger at the world; for those seekers of minimalistic motivational anthems, for music that soothes the blues and cages rage, for expressions of our vices and the acceptance of it as life…this album deserves to be a part of you.

It’s often the rawest albums that penetrate the depths of humanity, like when Johnny Cash sings to prisoners at Folsom or San Quentin, yet somehow reaches the guards there, and the average listener elsewhere wanting reprieves. These albums, like The Very First, last longer than a generation and span farther than hipster praises or skin colour and gender. Why? Because the songs are about struggle, true struggle, and, most importantly, about overcoming struggle, something lacking in a lot of music nowadays, but explicit in the old blues folk tunes.

It begins with a Neil Young-esque grunginess to it. That kind of grunginess that oozes blues, which is matched by the lyrics as the protagonist struggles with the life-controlling aspects of love and the subsequent getting over this love after experiencing a non-reciprocating relationship (whether this is a physical or abstract kind of love ain’t my concern). The drums thunder, the guitar forms a defensive wall around the lyrics, and the vocals passionately sing out the heartbreak, mixing anger with sadness.

“The Red, White, and Blue” is the folk anthem of our socioeconomic times since 2007: “I got no money to pay my bills/My wife grew tired and had her fill…Don’t want no government to bail me out…I bleed your red, white, and blue/but the lies have destroyed you/broken promises and dreams that won’t come true…I am lost and can’t find my way/so I vote and try to change my fate/but it’s a scam because they’re all the same/same broke down car just different paint.” Haven’t heard a simple folk tune like this that manages to say something through minimalism in a long time.

“Feather on the Wind” has a great dialogue between vocals and acoustic guitar that would’ve fit in well during the 60s folk movements. The lyrics are poetic (“Like a feather on the wind, I rise and fall, but I fly again; “‘Cause in the battle between good and evil, no one wins”) and tells a beautiful story at the same time. The occasional guitar mistakes augment the awesomeness of this song.

“One True Love” is another song that is minimalistic in technique, but expansive in style that lifts the listener to a motivational resolve. The tone of the guitar, the strength of the vocals, the rise and fall of the chords need no drums, bass or added instrumentation. It takes a truly remarkable talent to achieve this. Just listen to the song with headphones and the let the expansiveness flow into you like a tide at sunset or a drag from a cigarette after a long day.

Only thing to criticize is that I wish he’d have more vocal experimentations like the old blues musicians did. Experimentation is how the blues finds the soul. But there are times when he sounds like a present-age Bob Dylan. Unfortunately, few respect new Bob Dylan’s nowadays.

Regardless, this is an amazing collection of folk tunes. The album won’t be available once Hunter Johnson’s new album is released, so get it HERE while you can and support him if you can.

Well done.

Tracks to peep: The whole fucking album, but I guess “Threw It All Away,” “Soulless Train,” “The Red, White, and Blue”, “Feather on the Wind”, “One True Love”, “Hangman’s Noose” - Bunkey and the sheep


"The Very First"
"Miles and Miles" Summer 2013



Attention Plumber and Pipe Fitter Union No. 203, and other similarly situated music fans: You have a new working class hero. No, No, ultra rich, out of touch, Bruce Springsteen didnt release another record. Neither did John Cougar Mellencamp, or Tom Petty. No, on August 27, Phoenix based artist Hunter Johnson drops his debut LP Miles and Miles, and its pretty great.

Miles and Miles is a fantastic no frills rock record that impresses both on its own and as the debut offering from up-and-comer Hunter Johnson. Most of the tunes fall into a similar sonic territory as the above named classic rockers, but Johnsons songwriting, and the albums sharp no-nonsense production (the album was produced by Bob Hoag) keep the record sounding honest, and fresh.

From start to finish, Johnsons writing on Miles and Miles shows incredibly maturity both lyrically and structurallythis guy clearly knows how to pen a tune for radio airplay. The stories and characters on Miles and Miles appeal to a wide audience yet still leave room for listener interpretation. Song parts fit together seamlessly, and nothing ever feels out of place within a tune or from track-to-track. Everything on this record just fits and flows which is no small featespecially for a debut.

Take, for example, So Long Suzy, the albums rocking opener, which tells the story Johnny, whose tough as nails girlfriend is pressuring him for a ring. Johnny of course isnt caving to her pressure, and while his predicament isnt exactly unique, Johnsons no-nonsense storytelling and gravely vocals keep the tune sounding fresh, as chunky guitars and heavy drums blast the tune forward.

Next up, The Younger Me recounts the regrets of of an older man as he looks back on his life. The tune, with its pedal steel licks and everyman storyline, would feel right at home coming out of a Nashville studio. But despite the pedal steel licks and witty lyrics, Johnson keeps the tune squarely in rock territory by avoiding cheesy country inflection on his vocals and refusing the temptation overproduce the track. You Aint Seen the Best of Me is another rockin tune Nashville wishes it had written. Its a straight-forward tune recounting the narrators past accomplishments (which include high school football and fishing), while promising his lover that the best is still yet to come.

Rockers aside, Miles and Miles also showcases Johnsons versatility both as a songwriter and vocalist with ballads like Runaway, a classic heart break tune and Miles and Miles, a traveling tune about longing to gett back home.

The most impressive aspect of Miles and Miles may be Johnsons ability to combine classic rock production, with clever Nashville approved lyrics, while still managing to sound fresh and unique. The result is an album thats just a lot of fun from start to finish. Its the type of record that you turn up with the windows down on a summer night. And Miles and Miles gets you there the old fashioned way rockin, well-written American rock n roll. An impressive debut from a great new artist.

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