Samantha Twigg Johnson

Samantha Twigg Johnson


Peggy Lee meets PJ Harvey, flamenco style. Precise, fiery vocals glide over sophisticated guitar work, informed by Johnson's studies in Spain as well as her American folk roots. Sparse yet luscious, her literate songs routinely inspire silence in otherwise rowdy barrooms.


From white-collar mediocrity and its transcendence to canine aesthetics, the topics Johnson tackles sometimes surprise. More surprising, perhaps, is the ease with which the playful and the somber sit side by side. Her voice combines the tight articulation and sultry delivery of a Peggy Lee, with the dark energy of a PJ Harvey. Her guitar playing bears the marks of her flamenco and classical training: cascades of rhythmic strumming alternate with filigrees of precise and subtle finger work. Put together, they create a hypnotic sound that has captivated audiences in Europe, Asia and North America.


Red from Gray

Written By: Samantha Twigg Johnson

What would you say
if I told you
no empty lies
just the blazing truth?

There’s nobody here
who can save you,
but people are wrong
when they say you’ll never

find some way
to extract red from gray
and trade silver for crimson
in 17 shades—
a gesture of justice
to the blood in your veins.
We should know by now
that gilded dreams
are seldom all they seem;
when they split at the seams
you should bless
every hole in your pocket.

Your job’s draining and dull
as ditch water.
Your skin aches for the sun,
but it pays all right.

You sit at your desk
and you wonder
if the sum of such days
will make a life.

Can you [Chorus].

You have nothing to show
from your travels,
and you wouldn’t know
a smile from a yawn.

Now it’s time to let go
of that saddle.
Now it’s bareback or straight
to an early grave.

Charlotte Ochanine

Written By: Samantha Twigg Johnson

You stand at the door,
I can see you've been
crying for hours.
You ask if you might
stay a while,
while you let
this sorrow pass.

And I see

the secrets
swimming through the green
in the silent eyes
of Charlotte Ochanine.

I wish there were more
I could do
than make you
French toast.
To fill up the void
lost love left,
origami hearts unfold
with [Chorus].

You have the vacant look
of Toulouse's absinthe drinkers.
And in you I see myself
in my darker hours.

Oh Charlotte,
Charlotte Ochanine.
Watch your fragile beauty,
growing strong.

Yesterday’s Girl

Written By: Samantha Twigg Johnson

Hide-and-seek’s harmless in itself,
but games have a way
of growing weary.

Short of breath, unfamiliar scenes
surround and confound you?
you’re lost and lonely.

Follow the sound
of laughter sung through
honey-colored curls.
She’ll always be yesterday’s girl.

Broad-brimmed hat,
mustache and sunglasses,
and feigned accents
cannot disguise you.

You double back,
dart into the alley,
but you know that
she’s bound to find you.

You’d like to think
that who you are is far
from who you were.
But she’ll always be
yesterday’s girl.

What is she doing today?
Does she still forget
to put groceries away?
Does she still take sugar
in her tea?
Does she still brush her teeth
Who is the one
who she dances and stands with?
Who eats the pickles
she takes off her sandwich?

You sure could use
something salty.

What you don’t know
will never hurt you?
there’s no virtue
in poisoning memory.
Your twinkling-eyed ghost
will not desert you.
Her gentle perfume
surrounds you assuringly.



EP: "Preview." Self-released. 2002.

Set List

Red from Gray
Kissing Satellites
For You, Dear
Yesterday’s Girl
Just Like Canada (on a Map of the USA)
Thanks for Asking
No Love Songs Tonight
Zsa Zsa and Malevich
In Focus
Charlotte Ochanine
Tonic and Dominant
Windy City
Sister Tessem
Softly to Herself

Two half-hour sets are ideal. No covers.