CITY-BASED MUSICIAN WORKING ON NEW ALBUM
Family, actor Clive Owen, “bicycle diaries,” and a song about Williamsport are elements in I LIKE THE STREET, the title of a recording in progress by “Singer at Large” Johnny J. Blair.
Parts of I LIKE THE STREET were recorded in New York and San Francisco, but most of the work is being done at Mind’s Eye Studio in Williamsport, where Blair is based.
Blair said, “These songs are more sentimental in subject than what I’ve put out in the past. We’re still going to rock, but with more ‘up close and personal’ dynamics. For example, I’m including a song about my daughter called ‘Precious Gem.’
‘There’s Nothing Like Williamsport’ is a song about the city I live in. It’s been available as a download single and it’s finally coming out on CD. The track was remastered by Scott Francis and it sounds better than ever.
“I LIKE THE STREET extends from my ‘bicycle diaries;’ life observations from riding bike on city streets for years and years.
“Musically, I’m reaching into my Roxy Music and Velvet Underground bag of influences. I’m covering VU’s ‘What Goes On.’ Then there are acoustic interludes, doses of Latin and Tango music, and a nod to Erik Satie.”
An online single has been issued of “If I Could Dress Like Clive Owen,” a tribute to the British actor and “a song about how you wear your armor and the politics of fashion,” said Blair. The song quotes “spy movie music” and Sixties British Rock, tracked with Bret Alexander and Ron Simasek of The Badlees. They previously worked with Blair on the acclaimed AFTER HOURS tribute album to Lou Reed.
Tim Breon (David Rose Band) is the lead guitarist on the Bryan Ferry-influenced “Even in the Night,” a collaboration with city-based songwriter Amy Mintzer. The song is accompanied by a “film noir-ish” video that used the Community Arts Center as the setting.
Other musicians on I LIKE THE STREET include Keith Kavanaugh (Ron Fleeger & the Stranger), Eric Biondo (Beyondo), and Felipe Torres. Biondo and Torres work with Blair in the Davy Jones Band. Blair has performed and recorded with the ex-Monkee since 1993.
The song “Night Garden” was produced by Biondo, who has worked with TV On The Radio, Burning Spear, and Sinead O’Connor. Blair said, “Eric one of the sharpest talents in the business. I’m thrilled he’s in on this.”
Urban irreverence, romantic abstraction, and bittersweet spirituality define Blair’s “sunny brand of pure pop music.” His catalog includes the New Wave concept album DOOR IN THE WATER, the neo-soul masterwork FIRE , and the “PET SOUNDS meets Ziggy Stardust” of GRATEFUL. Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) called Blair “a virtuoso.”
I LIKE THE STREET will be released by Wampus International (www.wampus.com), a record company devoted to releasing recordings “off the beaten path.”
For further information go to www.johnnyjblair.com.