Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Tuesday, 04 September 2012 08:00

Hear and Now: Stream the new album 'Scorpion' by Will Johnson (of Centro-matic)

Hear and Now: Stream the new album 'Scorpion' by Will Johnson (of Centro-matic) Matt Pence
Written by Roy Kasten
Rate this item
(3 votes)

Audio for this feature is no longer available. Browse all Hear and Now features.

In the eight years since his last solo release, Will Johnson, leader of Centro-matic, has been far from idle. "Scorpion" is the sound of a prolific songwriter digging deep inside for more.

Along with his ongoing work for Centro-matic -- last year's "Candidate Waltz" was a career record -- Johnson has taken to painting (delightful baseball-themed portraits) and recording (and touring) with New Multitudes, the Woody Guthrie project that also features Anders Parker, Jay Farrar and Yim Yames (aka Jim James of My Morning Jacket).

For "Scorpion," Johnson stayed close to his home of Denton, Texas, an unassuming college town on the northern outskirts of Dallas. Working with Centro-matic bandmate Matt Pence, Johnson gets a sound that will be familiar to fans of his solo work: it's largely acoustic, spare at first listen, and then revealing more and more sounds, fleeting and surprising and mysterious, in the spaces between the guitar, piano and voice. Along with Pence, Johnson enlisted the multi-talented Scott Danbom of Centro-matic, Howard Draper of Okkervil River and Mikey Kapinus of Magnolia Electric Company. Together they spent five days getting as close to the secret soundtrack one imagines plays through the soft-voiced Johnson's head. It's quiet and drifting at one moment, then violent and lurching the next. And it's always luminous.

In contrast to Johnson's recent work, "Scorpion" was written and recorded with notable spontaneity, with some songs composed in the studio. Rather than resulting in unfinished fragments, the songs -- especially opener "You Will Be Mine, Here" the title track and closing track "Vehicular and True" -- sound like complete expressions, needing sometimes nothing more than Johnson's guitar and echo-drenched voice, doubled and tripled, to tell their personal stories. Johnson has never been a linear songwriter or traditional storyteller; his songs riff on rhymes and melodies and surprising diction, and yet they never come off as random. They always sound and feel natural and new.

Breathe aloud, release
Sing a new world hymn

And that's just what Johnson does on this poised and poignant album.

"Scorpion" will be released on September 11, 2012 on the Undertow Music Collective label.

Upcoming Concerts

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


The Mound City Slickers

Mon August 4

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-crowd.jpg

KDHX Recommends

August
Friday
29

Small Black, Scarlet Tanager

KDHX welcomes Small Black to the Ready Room, with Scarlet Tanager. This event is all ages.


August
Saturday
30

Cave States at Harvest Sessions 2014

Cave States at Harvest Sessions 2014 Cave States makes its debut live performance at Harvest Sessions this week. The acoustic Americana band features veteran St. Louis musicians Danny Kathriner, Chris Grabau, Todd Schnitzer, John Higgins and John Horton. This free...


September
Friday
05

Art Outside

Art Outside is not an ordinary fair, but one that features art, music and plenty of food and drink from Schlafly Beer. Hosted at the brewery’s Bottleworks location in Maplewood, Missouri, Art Outside draws approximately 15,000...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

2 users and 14538 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook