Jason Paul Johnston
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Jason Paul Johnston

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Willow’s Motel Review - Music News Nashville"

by Janet Goodman

Lyrics matter to songwriters; they are the bedrock of Ontario singer/songwriter Jason Paul Johnston’s debut album on Rarebird Records, “Willow’s Motel”. Having written all but one of the 12 featured tracks, Johnston takes us on an organic stream-of-consciousness journey of words, with gentle rolling melodies and laid-back phrasing reminiscent of fellow Canadian artist Neil Young. Produced by veteran Bruce Anthony (Gordon Lightfoot), his songs have the feel of poetry put to music; intimate moments you won’t hear anywhere else, shared in easy-breezy waltz time, in soft harmonicas, in faint touches of Hammond organ and acoustic six-string, all pulled together with a unique, live Americana-vibe stamp.

“Traveling Map”, appropriately the first track, gives the listener a right-out-of-the-box look at Johnston’s America state to state, from the windshield of his ’79. By the chorus, the traveler is weary: “Then I poured over the map again/To see that I was off again/I’m lost/So I looked up to the sky/And folded the USA over my eyes”.

In the title track “Willow’s Motel”, Johnston temporarily checks out from his stressful life by checking into the motel: “I’ve got clean sheets and towels and small soap/All I need here to make a fresh start/When I come on back home I’ll have new hope/I’ll return with a nice folded heart”.

Johnston’s strengths lay in the chorus of “She’s a Friend”, where a harmless, happy banjo finger-pick belies an intriguingly dark lyric: “She’s a smother face blanket in the night/The comfort hand of death when I’m reaching for life/The voice from the dark as I ponder the ledge/But all that said, she’s been a friend”.

A whisper in the wind is “Shadow”, produced with a delicate mountain lap dulcimer and haunting musical saw: “This shadow is pea soup/This shadow is over, not under/This shadow expects me to step a little slower…”

The final track of the album is a waltz “Farther Along”. This old-time church hymn is simply and warmly produced with acoustic guitar and piano, featuring the St. Bride’s Church Choir in Clarkson, Ontario. Jason Paul Johnston is the son of a preacher and a Tennessee music teacher; with roots like that and a brave first CD like this, he should be on his way to musical Glory.

For more about Jason or to buy his CD, visit his website at www.jasonpauljohnston.com
- Music News Nashville

"Willows Motel Review - www.altcountryforum.nl"

(this is an approximate google translation from the original dutch that it was in - you can see the original article here http://www.altcountryforum.nl/2009/08/21/jason-paul-johnston-willows-motel/ )

by Rein van den Berg

The opening of Jason Paul Johnston's 1st album Willows Motel sucks me in with a delicate piece of steel guitar Tommy Detamore. How incredibly easy and familiar Americana sound, a sound piece. You would think that you're dealing with a southern American, the Mexican-style muzzle gently in the title track give you that feeling, but that is only partly true, because we are dealing with results of a Canadian minister, and his wife, Although coming from Tennessee. Bit genetic presence so, because for the rest of this debut production was entirely in Canada. Under the inspirational leadership of a productional wolgeverfde by Anthony Bruce. Jason Paul knows some of his songs from a kind kabbelstructuur to build up a nice rock oriented song. Sometimes introspective, sometimes like a gallop he threatens, at any time radiates the pure passion of a song on the album blacksmith. ?

He forges autobiographical and everyday issues accounted for a whole. It is pleasant to record that I respect and space that Jason Paul award to his fellow musicians. Each song stands on its own, but each time a different musician will be discussed further, something that also the variation of Willow's Motel benefits. It is not sprinkled with profusion, and proper channeling takes place making the album pretty dose not become bogged down in a loose structure, but always rediscover again. For the experienced listener of this type are ideal studio, because they remain even after several spins buoys. Obviously, the overall sound of a beautiful Willows Motel crystallized Americana sound, with plenty of room for traditional instruments. Here you will find anything but a factory sound to the ego of a wolf or other disrespectful money to please, because he needs to secure its investment. This is a product created by musicians who have only guided by fun. Like-minded artists to be found in the broad field avètt somewhere between the Brothers and Neil Young. Jason Paul Johnston and his colleagues have taken the time to create a nice cd, now rest for the listener only to find the time to enjoy this extensive. I recommend this to seriously consider.
http://www.myspace.com/jasonpauljohnston ?http://www.jasonpauljohnston.com/ ?http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jpjohnston
- http://www.altcountryforum.nl

"Willows Motel Review - Americana-UK.com"

By Phil Edwards

Six years in the making...Blimey that’s longer than Pink Floyd!

Jason Paul Johnston is the son of a preacher man and a music teacher so you’d expect him to release a debut album of gospel tinged songs right? Wrong. Johnston is a fine songwriter and he writes 11 of the 12 songs on this album, and the only cover here is the staple ‘Farther Along’, which interestingly enough is also the only gospel song on the CD. Originally written by J.R.Baxter and W.B.Stevens (though the record sleeve credits John Starling, but other sources credit W. A. Fletcher), it’s both uplifting and sombre at the same time and comes with a full church choir.

Writing about his own experiences, and incorporating other people’s life events, Johnston is able to put the listener smack bang in the middle of it all. At times he could be writing about you or I. Though I do hope it’s me when he states in the Mexican influenced (as per the use of Mariachi style trumpets) title track (a real motel, where the album photo’s were taken which you can see here) “I’m surrounded by fans who adore me, just a flick of remote and they come. I’ve got women who follow me closely, from the very top shelf they run”, but alas I think it’s probably more about his own experiences of being on the road.

Opening song ‘Traveling Map’ is a simple song written in 2004 with Johnston playing acoustic guitar accompanied by Tommy Detamore on steel with both ably assisted by a basic drum beat. A tale of the way the USA is changing around him and not for the better; “Tennessee's the place of love and hate, full of all my family and my fate. The heat it seems to saturate my brain, I'd rather spend my summers off of Maine. Ohio seems to be the billboard state, they've got a highway with some taste. Everywhere I drive it looks the same, farms are being replaced by buffets.”

All his own songs were written between 2003 and 2006, so this album has been a while in the making. Utilising a wide range of instrumentation including banjo, mandolin, accordion, lap dulcimer and hoorah, the musical saw, Johnston is careful not to let them overawe the lyrics or his voice. ‘Shadow’ ably demonstrates the subtle use of the dulcimer and saw to add a lilting resonance.

‘Let’s Let It Be’ sprightly jogs along in a jangly old timey country sort of way and album closer ‘Secret Prayers’ returns us back to his religious roots, couched in swirling swathes of piano and electric guitar.

This month all the CD’s I received for review arrived in cardboard gatefold sleeves, which can only be a good thing so let’s all lobby record companies from issuing those awful plastic jewel cases. Of those six, Johnston’s album is the best presented with its use of recycled cardboard and soy ink. He obviously cares about the future of the environment within which we all live. - Americana-UK.com

"Willows Motel Review - Musesmuse.com"

CD REVIEW: Jason Paul Johnston - Willows Motel
By Chip Withrow

Artist: Jason Paul Johnston
Album: Willows Motel
Label: Rarebird Records
Website: http://www.jasonpauljohnston.com
Genre: Americana rock
Sounds Like: Son Volt, Neil Young
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Willows Motel, Vines, Secret Prayers
CD Review: I’ve always been drawn to sepia-toned, storytelling Americana, fully realized in such albums as Neil Young’s Harvest, The Band’s Music From Big Pink, the Jayhawks’ Hollywood Town Hall, and Son Volt’s Trace. And that’s why I dig Jason Paul Johnston’s Willows Motel.

“Traveling Map” is the traditional-sounding opening road tale, told in Johnston’s warm, conversational singing voice over mournful steel guitar. The title cut is a bittersweet joy, an unusual blend of violin, trumpet, and acoustic guitar.

Johnston’s songs would almost all work as guitar-and-vocal pieces. “Temptation” begins that way and turns into a choogling folk-rocker. The jangly “Lowville” features stabs of bluesy electric guitar. The backporch-friendly “She’s a Friend” is driven by banjo, the first of Chris Coole’s several picking appearances.

“Vines” is another banjo-rific tune, more freight train than rocking chair. (And it makes me want to look up the James Dickey poem “Kudzu” on which it is based.) “Vines” and the similarly paced “Anyone Inside” are good singalong tunes – “Anyone” boasts fantastic lead and backing vocals.

Piano turns “Let’s Let It Be” into a sprightly country-rock tavern number. More piano and gospel voices lift the stirring “Farther Along, ” the set’s lone cover song. “Secret Prayers” closes the album beautifully and inspirationally – it’s another song that would work solo, but it benefits from atmospheric washes of guitar and keyboard.
Jason Paul Johnston’s Willows Motel is filled with songs to care about, acoustic in nature yet adorned with crisp musicianship. - Musesmuse.com

"Americana Singer adds local twist to debut CD"

Americana Singer adds local twist to debut CD
July 8th, 2009
Mike Beggs – Live Wire / Mississauga News

Owner of the local Revolution Audio, Jason Paul Johnston, moves to the other side of the soundboard with the release of his debut disc, Willows Motel, unveiled this Friday at the Lost Lounge.

And were it not for the title – taken from a Lakeshore Rd. landmark – one might have thought it had come out of Austin, or some other country roots mecca.

But then a North-South crosswinds has always blown through his sails – with his father a Canadian preacher, and his mother a music teacher from Nashville. Add to that college years spent in Rochester, and a few years living in Lexington.

The album title is symbolic of the millions of motels scattered across North America. And the opening tack, Traveling Map, obviously picks up on the theme.

“I spent a lot of time driving the highways in the U.S.,” Johnston muses. “And in with that is a little of the decision to come back to Canada.”

Johnston stews up the influences of alternative country (Son Volt), late ‘60’s country/rock (The Byrds), old country outlaws (Johnny Cash) and today’s neo-folk movement (Great Lake Swimmers).

Because, “alt/country doesn’t seem to exist anymore,” his record will be filed in the growing Americana section of your record store. Johnston notes the Grammy Awards just added an Americana category, and there are no less than 2,100 Americana-friendly radio stations across North America and the UK.

“At the front end, I’m just so happy to get this album out,” he offers. “This isn’t my ticket to glory. I hope it’s one of many albums.”
- Mississauga News

"Willows Motel Review at www.Rootstime.be"

by Freddy Celis
Sept 2009

(the following is a rough translation from the Dutch in this article from Belgium. You can see the original here: http://www.rootstime.be/CD%20REVIEUW/2009/SEPT1/CD96.htm )

Ontario, Canada shows a very productive breeding ground for young, talented singer-songwriter. The past weeks I've already pretty much work from that area on my CD player to see through. By Jason Paul Johnston, we already arrived at the following.

This son of a minister and a music teacher from Tennessee takes after six years of hard preparatory "Willows Motel" his first CD on the market with eleven manuscript composed songs and a traditional gospel song "Farther Along" on the track list.

Melancholic tunes where the country in his youth been spooned gospel and bluegrass influences are not here to stay. To his great examples Neil Young, Son Volt and The Jayhawks Jason Paul Johnston also devotes much attention to the substantive message of his lyrics. With his warm voice and the accompaniment of his acoustic guitar he brings tales of adventures from the road, traveling from one performance to another.

In country music belongs undeniably a pedal steel to echo and widely in most songs on this album. Tommy Detamore thereto touches a chord that little bit dark and sometimes sad cachet to the numbers indicate. Nice to recommend copies of this genre are "Traveling Map", "Temptation", the banjo sounds dominated by "She's A Friend" and "Vines", the ballad "Pertuis Millie" and the closing track "Secret Prayers".

The songs on "Willows Motel" are all perfect songs solo with an acoustic guitar could be brought, but by the added instrumentation moderately managed to create an extra dimension and seem to have become much richer.

As a debut album, this album certainly be regarded as successful and may be an encouraging start for a next record in found.
- www.Rootstime.be

"Willows Motel Review - www.brickwallartist.com"

July 2009

Jason Paul Johnston CD "Willows Motel" is already being sent out to Americana Radio Stations in North America and the United Kingdom and to CD reviewers- Once this CD hits the radio station's two of his songs "Traveling Map" and "Willows Motel" I do believe we will all be hearing on the Radio for many years to come - "Traveling Map" and "Willows Motel" are songs with such moving Lyrics and Melodies about a Musicians Life on the road they just leave the listerner hanging on to every word. Willows Motel is a must have CD for every Roots and Americana Music Lover in the world young and old. For complete lyrics and a short story inspired by the album visit www.jasonpauljohnston.com
Jason is the son of a preacher from the Great White North (Canada) while his mother is a music teacher from Tennessee, giving his muse northern and southern winds. He is scheduled to release his first album "Willows Motel" of 11 originals and 1 old gospel tune on the Rarebird Records label July 18th, 2009 at the Cadillac Lounge in Toronto Canada.
Dakota Williams
Founder (DIBWAC)


- www.brickwallartist.com


Debut full length CD "Willows Motel" released July 2009 to glowing and growing reviews.



Son of a music teacher from Tennessee and a preacher from Canada, Jason Paul Johnston blends musical traditions as he spins his original, emotive song stories. This combination of influences brings thoughtful lyrics to what could be timeless music. Somewhere between Neil Young, Steve Earle, Damien Rice, and the Avett Brothers you'll find Jason Paul Johnston.