250 word album review: Will Johnson – Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm

Will Johnson - Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm

Stars4.5

Will Johnson dissolved his group Centro-matic and his main focus is now on solo records. He made solo albums before the band came to its amicable end but now they are his primary vehicle for putting out music. It is worth noting that Johnson is a very busy guy, he is involved in many projects with many different musicians.

This being Johnson’s 5th full length solo release it is a great accomplishment that it is his strongest. What the disbanding of Centro-matic seems to have done is open Johnson’s solo sound up sonically. His early solo albums are much quieter, this has some good hard edged guitar, just see “Every Single Day of Late.” That being said this is still far from a Centro-matic record, there are still acoustic numbers like on his early solo album that focus around his brilliant vocal performance and songwriting style. On “Predator” Johnson uses the predator not as its usual role as an antagonist but more as an accomplice. Twists like this keep his songwriting a step ahead of the game. On “Ruby Shameless” you’ll hear the softer dynamics of Johnson as he again uses his great singing voice to carry the song, almost single handedly. On “Childress (to Ogden)” he uses a slow waltz as a guide similar to Warren Zevon’s “Carmelita.”

Will Johnson isn’t an artist that will ever likely break out and be massively popular but it is clear he is among the most talented musicians active today. Each record he is a part of serves a purpose and is fresh in its own way, “Hatteras” is a great example of this.

Key Tracks: “Every Single Day of Late” “Predator” “Ruby Shameless” “Heresy and Snakes”

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