Johnny Newman’s sound doesn’t rely on a lot. His music is raw — unhampered by too many wires, equipment or gadgets. His guitar, banjo, harmonica and voice are powerful enough messengers, delivering notices harking to a time less complex, when a few well placed words were preferred over waves of information.
Johnny may be just 24, but his music speaks of a wisdom far beyond his age. Residing in Cleveland, Ohio, Newman is fresh off the release of his debut EP, “Late Summer, Red River,” an effort reminiscent of traditional Bright Eyes, and one that has garnered many comparisons to The Tallest Man on Earth.
In reality, Newman’s approach to singing is much more unique, as if the songwriter channels Ernest Hemingway’s love of brevity, but loses the author’s journalistic approach for a more poetic interpretation. While “Late Summer, Red River” is quick to evoke emotions of nostalgia and yearning, often concerning a more wild, free American landscape, it does so without proper nouns or focused attention to individual places. Newman’s vision is much broader. He’s speaking of, and to, the United States as a whole.
Johnny Newman is set for a 10-stop tour along the northern east coast this August, taking his intimate show to new audiences in hopes of spreading his songs of redemption on many new, willing ears. If his recent session with us at Our Vinyl is any sign, there should be a lot more Newman converts by the time September roles around.
Special thanks to our friends at Old Son Studios. They not only shared their amazing studio space, but also mixed and mastered all these wonderful tracks. Be sure to check them out if you are a Columbus native!
Dean Goranites | Associate Editor