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JUDE JOHNSON —SHATTER (Bojak Records)

 

www.bojakrecords.com

 

Singer-songwriter, Jude Johnson is one those acts who defies categories, for her music crosses and merges genres as easily as one able to sit at the piano one moment and swing their legs round the next to play acoustic guitar (this is if you are capable of playing them). Not that Johnson performs on the latter, but the former, along with some work on organ. Her impassioned, thought provoking vignettes of life are not unlike those of Shawn Colvin in the fashion she keeps things tucked in behind the music to sound ‘cool’. In that she doesn't reveal everything, leaving a little for the listener to finalize.  

 

Johnson is into her third decade in the music business, her first brush came as a teenager sitting in (at the invitation of Clarence Clemmons) to the recording of Bruce Springsteen’s album, The River. Jude already had some songs written and was soon picking up covers from Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood (numerous), Johnny Cash (‘Unchained’), Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks and Jennifer Warnes plus others. Plus she has sung on records by non other than Leonard Cohen. Not a bad resume to have. She sings good too on lending strains of jazz to go with her Americana pop Johnson records music that is best heard in relative quiet for its beauty to be appreciated fully. Better time doing so could not be spent.

 

Among the finest tracks I would, instantly, offer the battling tale ‘Who Could Ask For More’ and poignant piano / cello ode ‘Your Side Of The Bed’ (a song where she speaks of her love having left her and of hope her may one day return) plus  the full-bodied ‘Shatter’. Beautiful, artful and awash in subtle undertones and fiery, impassioned (Bonnie Raitt-ish) smouldering determination ‘When Does Love Get Easier’ (it doesn’t take a genius imagining the likes of Yearwood and a few more singing these, either, Colvin too) which contain some great sax (Mark Macisso) is a quality piece. Masterpiece status no less springs to mind. 

Not far behind, and arguably after a few listens up there with it there too is ‘Girl Afraid’ (a big song it gets even bigger once Paddy Keenan’s Uilleann pipes are introduced), there is a couple more mixed among the jazzy plied tracks which don't underline her songwriting talent in quite the same fashion tales of ‘Alcohol’, break-up and as on ‘Touchdown Jesus’ —the complete register is rolled out. 

 

                                                                     Maurice Hope       

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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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