It’s been four years since former furniture restorer Ady Johnson last released music, the album Tell The Worry Dolls – maybe he’s had a lot to talk to his dolls about in that time. First seen at the Highbarn Guitar Festival in 2012, there was something very engaging about that performance, a feeling that he was a proper music man, that has kept me watching out for new music. It turns out he has a degree in classical guitar performance, thus demonstrating his credentials of properness. It’s nice when a hunch proves right. In the intervening time Ady has played many festivals and supported artists such as Ben Howard. Last year he headed to the U S of A for his “New York Tour” and wrote the music for a short film entitled The Last Man.
The title track to the EP is a dedication to his late Grandfather, whom he served his apprenticeship under. “My arc of blood, it paints the ceiling” suggests that there may have been a few accidents with a chisel along the way. Musically, it contains an interesting mix of instruments – a parping tuba, what sounds like a pair of clattering spoons, harmonica and a rather lovely overtwang of off key guitar, which makes me grin. The line “This song is just a pop song” is most misleading because it really isn’t. Pop songs don’t parp and clatter or generally sound as genuine as this.
The Glass Tower is an acoustic track with a wiggle of strings in the background, and Wired Like You is a gentle song about a wonderfully positive acquaintance (“You see the rose and you don’t see its thorns”) who makes our Ady wonder if he’s made the wrong way (“Maybe there’s a wire that’s missing in me”). And Whale Song is a bluesy skiffling concoction that powers the conclusion to the EP. If you are looking for someone to add to your collection of male singer songwriters, you could do worse than give Ady a listen.