Monday, February 06, 2006


“The spears on the wall, do not bode well” quipped Chris Harland, the lead singer of Johnson House as the band took to the stage at The Black Swan in York, for a charity gig which raised much needed hundreds of pounds for “worldvision”. With a voice more powerful and sharper than any of the spears hanging from the dark panelled walls, Chris and the band gave a performance of immaculate quality, to the point that the packed audience, no matter how many gigs they see this year, have probably seen the best of the year already.
After changes in personnel over the years, the band now contains top quality musicians in the form of Leon Parr on drums, Johnny Heyes on lead guitar, James Rimmer on keyboards and the band’s bass player of many years Matt Walkin, all blending together to make a tight sounding professional unit.
An extra dimension for the audience of this gig, was the background information given regarding how the songs were written, and how they developed into their present form. This was a pleasant change as it made the songs even more intimate and poignant. The lyrics come from the heart of everyday life, the loves and losses in semi-detached suburbia, a place which most of us could relate to, especially the sundays in the park as described in “Hall Park Sunday” and when Chris sang the line “yesterday is brighter than tomorrow” from the track “Worry Loves” the crowd as one could nod in recognition and acknowledgement.
It’s a tragedy for lovers of meaningful songs and musicianship that due to other playing commitments, this band are not on the road more often, they deserve a much wider audience. If there was a grain of justice in the music world, Johnson House would be headlining the main stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival on a regular basis, enabling the British music industry to show we can still produce class.