Folksinger Michael Johnathon isn’t exactly a “normal” folksinger, as he once again proves on his 19th studio album, AFTERBURN, out now via PoetMan Records & The Orchard.
AFTERBURN is the word used when something really rocks the cages and leaves people with a startled, surprised reaction. It is the accelerated power of a rocket during its takeoff. AFTERBURN tackles the topics of power and peace, war and love, all within the context of the global “front porch”, launching coffeehouse “folk” at the arena level. Literally.
“For me, folk music is the porch…and so much more. I took everything I knew of life as a folk singer, of traveling in the hills, and of Appalachian screams to play on scene, I turned it upside down, mixed it up, and tried to see how aggressive this ‘folk’ canvas could be and still be considered part of the style of music that I love”, says Michael Johnathon from his log cabin near Lexington, Kentucky. “That’s when I wrote that poem…folk can be anything and everything because it gave birth to everything.”
If anyone has championed and embodied the idea and image of a global troubadour, it is Michael Johnathon. Indeed, if Folk is the “mother of all music”, AFTERBURN certainly reflects all the colors of this musical rainbow, and her career has reflected all these musical textures.
From the screaming long-necked “Techno-Folk” banjo to the majestic 61-piece symphony of “The Dream,” from the commentary of “Cyber Bubba” to the lamentation of “Cars,” every song is a story, every song is a musical cine-landscape, a painting on canvas of guitars, banjos and mandolins colored by rock bands and… yes… symphony orchestras.
“I love classical music, I love Pink Floyd, Pete Seeger and Dan Fogelberg,” says Johnathon. “Woody Guthrie would have been one of the first to plug in a keyboard if they had had one at the time. What made Bill Monroe a pioneer and the father of Bluegrass was his willingness to try new things. To Change. He was the Nine Inch Nails of his day. Some might like it. Purists might try to scoff at it…maybe it’s not their “cup of tea”.
But Michael Johnathon doesn’t invite you to a nice cup of tea either. AFTERBURN launches banjos, mandolins and guitars to thrilling, unexpected levels and stays in the comfortable tapestry of the folk world by a troubadour-playing banjo…until it surprises, shocks, even stuns.
Listen to the new single here: