Danny Johnson and Friends
Concerts Not To Be Missed
By Justin Parcher
THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO, ---- February 18, 2015 --- We meet at exactly the sort of place you'd expect to find musician-singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Danny Johnson, in his Thunder Bay, studio space, surrounded by guitars, amps, microphones, stands, drums, pedals, tape machines and various keyboard instruments, all connected by a labyrinth of cables. As he prepares for two concerts this weekend, he is clearly in his glory here, energized and looking forward to the shows. The concerts take place this weekend at Magnus Theatre, where he will gather a few of his friends (who happen to be among the best musicians around, including Damon Dowbak, Jim Differ, Dave Isherwood, Pierre Schryer and Dan Zadkovich, among others) and deliver some incredible music to an audience, who will no doubt be under its moonlit spell.
As Johnson plays me a few of his recordings, I can hear how he has been developing a malleable core of material over the past few years to stoke the creative furnace and in the process has become a songwriter of rare precision and power, the songs consisting of beautiful, wind-swept melodies, sung by a haunting voice, and running the gamut from simple, spare acoustic guitar backing to full-on, stirring accompaniment by a powerhouse band.
"I have so many ideas for good songs," Johnson says, "but it's often difficult trying to see them through to completion because of all the directions I get scattered into." You see, he is also a film composer, studio owner and producer, stage and film actor, and stellar jazz pianist, amongst other things, but one can see where all of these various pursuits come together to lend valuable insight to the process of songwriting.
I ask him about this process and he gets philosophical. "It is difficult these days to make a film that competes at a global level, or to be a scientist trying to develop a cure, or to be an entrepreneur competing on the world stage, as all of these endeavours require huge budgets and extensive human resources," Johnson says, " but to write a world-class song, all you need is pencil and paper, a guitar and a cheap recorder to get it down." Well, not to mention talent, vision, purpose and dedication, the ability to compose killer melodies and chord progressions, marry these to some profound lyrics and arrange them into a world-class song.
Danny Johnson is truly a world-class singer, songwriter and musician and these will be two nights of powerful, wonderful music. If you are only going to see one concert in the next while, trust me, this is the one to check out. You can thank me later.
Danny Johnson and Friends in Concert will take place at Magnus Theatre on Friday February 20 and Saturday February 21. Both shows are at 8:00 pm and are fundraisers in support of Magnus. Tickets are $20 for adults, but $15 student tickets are also available in person at the box office. Call 345-5552 or visit www.magnus.on.ca to book your tickets now.