Thursday, February 4, 2016

Freedy Johnston -- "Neon Repairman" (2015) Review

"I am a 
repairman of 
neon lights."
~ Freedy Johnston ~

One of the unexpected gems from 2015, and one that seems to have passed mostly unnoticed, is singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston's beautiful..."Neon Repairman."  And it's one of his best.

A collection of ten songs filled with out-of-step characters who find themselves traveling on the kind of roads that demand single file.  And they may be broken, but he likes them.  You can hear it in Freedy's voice. And his voice has never sounded better.

Just listen as he sings..." the winter night. She remembers longer days..." ("Summer Clothes")  An achingly beautiful story about a woman left to wander the streets with no place to go.  Not really, anyway.

Then there's the terrific..."A Little Bit of Somethin’ Wrong"...about a soldier struggling to adjust.  The deceptive melody disguises darker lyrics.  "...I've got a wife and kid, but I'm supposed to stay away from them."  Freedy's light delivery makes the words cut all the deeper.

The diamond on this disc is the haunting..."Her Hair Is Blowing in the Wind of Another Planet."  Just a wonderful, mysterious song that's open to interpretation.  It's killer.  And your headphones will love it.

"Her Hair Is Blowing..."  -  Freedy Johnston / "Neon Repairman" (2015)

"The First to Leave the World, Is the First to See the World" a wistful tale told from the perspective of the first man going into outer-space...and how surreal the experience. It's a sweet song and I liked it.

"Baby, Baby Come Home" is a nice, catchy radio tune that pops right out of the speakers and captures the beautiful timbre in Freedy's voice.  Yeah, just like that!

"Baby, Baby Come Home" - Freedy Johnston / "Neon Repairman" (2015)

Which finally brings me to the awesome title track which opens the record, "Neon Repairman."  It's about a lonely guy who fixes burned-out light-bulbs throughout the city. "The Horseshoe Bar, yes I know it well.  The Coffee Cup Diner and the Palm Motel."  And the song succeeds in its pay homage to one of Freedy's favorite songs...the Jimmy Webb classic, "Wichita Lineman."  The song sounds both truly original and comfortably familiar at the same time. And it just works.

Freedy Johnston always writes songs that are never cheap...and sings them with a deliciously weary resignation.  After five years, "Neon Repairman" is a much-welcomed return.  A simply solid recording. Haunting, beautiful and a gentle reminder that the good times can sometimes be a fragile bitch.

Freedy Johnston Facebook

"TCCDM" Freedy Johnston Interview

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

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