Karen Johns & Company – Peach
Released – January 2012
Not long ago, running an old playlist on the ‘pod, Karen Johns came up.
Ms. Johns is a very talented singer/songwriter who makes her home in suburban Nashville. The song was “Carry Me Away,” an original from her 2008 album, “Star and Season.” I listened with new ears, and liked it even more than I did in 2008…and I liked it a lot back then.
As serendipity seems to go – that same week a copy of Ms. Johns’ newest album, “Peach,” landed on the desk.
The forumla that works for my old top-40 ears is some sort of universal condition, one in which any of us can imagine ourselves, and a good hook – that’s the memorable earworm that sticks with you. It’s harder than it sounds.
Ms. Johns gets this, from the opening track – “Sugarboo” – the title itself is an earworm, evoking a breezy trip in a convertable with one’s sweetie – to the more melancholy “I Speak Woman, You Speak Man.”
Ms. Johns’ talent isn’t limited to the pen, though. None of this would work without her creamy and supple alto, and the “Company,” the backing band – James Johns on guitar, Kevin Sanders on keyboards, Chris Kozak on bass, Michael Glaser on percussion, Jim Hoke on reeds and harmonica (nice touch on “Sentimentale,”) and Ken Watters on trumpet.
Mix in some off the beaten track standards – two in Italian, and one (Nancy Wilson’s “How Glad I Am”) that’s one of my all-time favorites – and well, this one will be in heavy rotation for some time to come.
Very highly recommended.