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Ethan Johns and the Blackeyed Dogs – Anamnesis

mei 5th, 2019 at 15:47

Three Crows Records

5 052442 014522

magic memories.

From the opening notes of the first of seventeen songs on his fourth album, singer-songwriter and producer Ethan Johns takes a new direction. However, the short opener ‘The invitation’, a cross between ambient and symphonic rock, is misleading: the other songs appear to be more firmly rooted in English folk and americana than his earlier work.

Johns recorded them live in his studio in the English countryside with his Blackeyed Dogs, with whom he already made ‘The Silver Liner’ in 2015.

Drummer Jeremy Stacey, bass player Nick Pini, keyboard player Stephanie Jean Kid and fiddle player Georgina Leach also sing enthusiastically and, moreover, all had a voice in the organic production. The renowned producer Johns apparently felt more of a band member than anything else, although he wrote all the songs.

The more than twenty years that he lived in the US are more clearly audible than on his previous albums: Bob Dylan’s narrative songs and The Band’s melodies seem to be direct influences, although there are also traces of Supertramp and The Kinks. Johns found thematic inspiration in ‘Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz anno 1459’, a book from 1616 about the transformation of the protagonist’s soul into a world controlled by magic, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s films and Philip K. Dick’s books.

In songs of three to twelve minutes Johns evokes a musically meditative, hypnotic and highly personal world that is based on folk and americana, but is more than that, also because the album is only released physically as a protest against the poor revenues from streaming.

 

***1/2

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