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London Songs is Ady Johnson’s second album, and like with his debut Tell The Worry Dolls (2011) it once again has Gerry Driver (tenor, bass guitar, mandolin, Bodhran, violin, washboard) produce. Slotted inbetween the albums Johnson also recorded an EP. Opening in impressive fashion via the bustling, piano warmed pub rock come big band (New Orleans style) “Problems Of Your Own” you could not want for a better or more tempting taster. He follows it with another well worked, if more lazy paced production in the brass prompted “Put The World On Standby”, and with the artful “Irish Goodbye” next up evoking choice stark imagery Johnson is off and on his way.
Johnson enjoys performing lyrics and music of a subtle nature; the kind that tend to sneak up on you when you are least expecting them. As in the artful “The Glass Tower”, and at a slower tempo still, “New Year’s Day” on the intro that is before he goes a little poppy, 1970s folk singer-songwriter style. Whatever the melody Ady always has his lyrics for the listener to fall back upon, even when he becomes a little whimsical on acoustic warmed “The Black And Blue” and pretty “Bring You Back”. Rarely will you come across a more beautiful or more carefully arranged piece (Dave Rothon on pedal steel guitar) than the latter.
Keeping it spare and simple “Thank You For The Good Things” has him remember his Granddad, and with its busker-esque traits his early days playing are likewise revisited. Getting into a funky almost blues groove “Bloodshot Eyes” sees a little more beef added, and with rocking rhythm it is a timely change, and he goes a step farther on the next song as he calls up the band for “Whale Song”. The production works a treat! His choice for the closing track “These Days” is an earthy affair; one of those where his voice bleeds the emotions of the tortured lyrics (more intelligent use of pedal steel). It is a real study.
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