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Legendary Singer/Songwriter Freedy Johnston To Release "Back on the Road to You" On September 9th Featuring Aimee Mann, Susannah Hoffs & Susan Cowsill

BROOKLYN, NY – Legendary singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston is back with his long-awaited album, Back on the Road to You, to be released September 9th via Forty Below Records. Johnston’s 9th album is an extraordinary return to grace, steeped in wit, humor, pathos, love, and friendship drenched with memorable, infectious melodies. Johnston recorded the album in Los Angeles with producer Eric Corne (John Mayall, Sam Morrow.) Joining Johnston in the studio were Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles, and long-time collaborator, Susan Cowsill, along with an all-star roots music band, including Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams), Dusty Wakeman (Jim Lauderdale), Dave Raven (Shelby Lynn) and Sasha Smith (Priscilla Ahn).

In 1994 Rolling Stone named Johnston the Songwriter of the Year, describing him as “A master storyteller, (who) sketches out full-blown tragedies in a few taut poetic lines.” Adding, “He joins that elite cadre of songwriters—Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Elvis Costello—whose brilliant pop compositions turn magical with the addition of a defiantly idiosyncratic singing voice.” 

 

Freedy Johnston has taken an unpredictable path throughout his 30-year career. It’s a true underdog story. He has a wicked gift for turning a melodic phrase with equal parts’ heart on his sleeve’ troubadour and weaver of mysteries. The Kinsley, Kansas native released his first two records with the widely respected indie label Bar/None. Can You Fly made many ‘Best of the Year’ lists, including, The New York Times, Billboard, and Spin Magazine, to name a few. Robert Christgau for The Village Voice called it “a perfect album,” and Playboy declared it “the best album by a new male singer-songwriter in at least a decade.” 

 

Stereogum was quick to pick up on the first two offerings, “There Goes A Brooklyn Girl,” and “Madeline’s Eye”. “Brooklyn Girl,”  was unveiled initially by The Big Takeover and features jangly hook-laden guitars that tug at a heartbeat drum pattern, propelled by intermittent finger snaps. Along with Johnston’s uncanny lyrical charm and sweet sentimental harmonies, it evokes the image of “a never-ending love story. She’s the hip girl in the office living with her musician boyfriend in Williamsburg. He tends bar until 4 AM. It can’t last. But at least a song comes out of it,” Johnston quips. 

 

“Madeline’s Eye,” the second single, made it’s debut in The Bluegrass Situation. It’s a song only Johnston or maybe Harry Nilsson could have written. It’s a charming futuristic satire where machines even take over our hearts. “At the altar, you’ll be asked, “have you read the manual thoroughly?” Johnston jokes. 

 

Aimee Mann joins Johnston on the angelic “Darlin,” a song about undying love and the ghosts of the night. Enhanced by Doug Pettibone’s lilting pedal steel guitar, it wouldn’t sound out of place in a Gram and Emmy-Lou set. Aimee stated, “I’ve always loved Freedy’s voice and songwriting. There’s something so matter-of-fact yet plaintive about his records, and that combination is incredibly compelling. I’m delighted he has a new record and am even more delighted to be singing on it. ” 

 

The album veers from the Crazy Horse laced “Power of Love” (featuring Susan Cowsill) to the lush orchestration of “Somewhere Love” and “Trick of the Light,” further reinforcing the overarching themes of the album. “Tryin’ To Move On” is a raucous road trip song about reinvention via misadventure.

Copious amounts of critical acclaim helped Johnston land a four-album major-label deal with Elektra Records. Butch Vig was enlisted to produce 1994’s This Perfect World. The album opened with the hit “Bad Reputation” and included other standouts such as the title track and “Evie’s Tears.” It garnered more critical acclaim for Johnston, who recorded three additional records for Elektra, 1997’s Never Home (produced by Danny Kortchmar), 1999’s Blue Days Black Nights (produced by T Bone Burnett), and 2001’s Right Between the Promises (produced by Cameron Greider). 
 
Freedy has contributed music to films such as The Farrelly Brothers cult classic Kingpin and Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead, as well as  Kicking and Screaming. A series of albums followed his Elektra output, 2006’s Live at McCabes Guitar Shop and 2010’s Rain on the City. In 2015 the self-funded Neon Repairman was released to critical raves from Stereogum, Paste, The New York Times, and Magnet
 
Back on the Road to You welcomes back this gifted songwriter. It embodies the sound of an American original, reminding us that he is still considered one of the best songwriters of his generation.

TRACK LISTING

​​1  Back On the Road to You
2  There Goes a Brooklyn Girl
3  Madeline’s Eye
4  Darlin’  – featuring Aimee Mann
5  Tryin’ to Move On 
6  The Power of Love – featuring Susan Cowsill
7  Somewhere Love 
8  That’s Life 
9  Trick of the Light
10 The I Really Miss Ya Blues


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