Rain On The City

Freedy Johnston

Bar/None Records, 2009


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Sometime during the summer of 1971 while traveling across the country with some of my college buddies, I had my picture taken next to a sign in Kinsley, Kansas that proclaimed I was standing in the exact center of the country. Little did I realize at the time that somewhere in that small village of less than 2000 people, a ten-year-old Freedy Johnston was taking an early interest in music.

His big break arrived in the early ‘90s when he signed with the Electra label and released the album This Perfect World, which produced the Billboard Magazine chart hit “Bad Reputation.” This album, and those that followed, established a loyal fan base which has allowed him to continue to record and tour extensively since. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

He is now all grown up, and Rain On The City is his twelfth release since 1990. It continues his development as a songwriter of note and an accomplished vocalist. His well-crafted lyrics deal with loss, love, and the perplexities of life.

Johnston has assembled another set of thoughtful tunes in which his pop sensibilities flow past the listeners’ ears and become ingrained within their minds. They are thinking persons lyrics that demand your attention and bear repeated listens to sort out their complexities.

He is never one to be pigeonholed with one style of song. “Don’t Fall In Love With A Lonely Girl” is straight ahead pop/rock, while “Livin’ Too Close To The Rio Grande” goes in a more country direction and features his fine guitar playing. The title song is a real production, with stings and keyboard providing the foundation for his vocals. “Venus Is Her Name” is in a different vein as well, with his acoustic skills setting up another fine vocal.

The production on this disc is crisp, and the vocal/instrumental mix is exact. He also includes the lyrics to his songs, which are always appreciated (it’s a good lesson for the thousands of singer-songwriters who fail to do so.)

On Rain On The City, Johnston is backed by a legion of musicians, but of particular note is multi-instrumentalist Richard McLaurin, who is at home on the acoustic guitar, lap and pedal steel, piano, accordion, and mandolin. Drummers Pete Abbott and Rich Malloy, plus bass player David Santos, lay down a good foundation for him to build his sound upon.

Freedy Johnston remains a true American troubadour. He is constantly on the road, bringing his act to small clubs around the United States. Rain On The City continues his string of excellent releases and will hopefully gain him some mainstream notoriety.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Bar/None Records, and is used for informational purposes only.