A first for Damon
It’s perhaps odd, but nevertheless true, that never before in his close on three decades on Planet Rock, has Damon Johnson made a solo record.
These days best known for being in the phenomenal Black Star Riders and also acting as one half of the acoustic duo that is Warwick Johnson and which sees him and BSR singer Ricky Warwick touring the country with their acoustics in hand and a story on the lips, Johnson is also an accomplished and brilliant songwriter.
Most of the BSR songs are co-writes with him and Warwick, and previously he was in Brother Cane, the band that saw him cut his teeth.
So when, in some no doubt rare downtime, he entered the studio to record some tunes, it is little surprise to anyone that “Echo” is as good as it is.
What perhaps isn’t quite what we expected is that it sounds nothing at all what we might call his day job. Instead the five tracks here largely speaking wouldn’t be out of place on a Stone Temple Pilots record.
Certainly that’s true of the thrilling opener “Dead” and the ballad “The Waiting Kills Me”. The former has that kind of incessant quality that STP had at their best, and the latter would bother charts if anyone still brought singles.
In-between the pair is “Nobody Usin’” a thudding, almost glam rock cut that has a mighty hook and chorus, and as if to prove he can knock out hit sounding songs seemingly at will, “Scars” follows, which combines a low down chug with swirling, almost Beatles-like melodies to create the almost perfect slice of Radio Rock.
This short, sharp and always superb EP is rounded off with the Stones-esque grooves of “Just Move On” and features some mighty fine side guitar licks to give “Echo” a marvellous conclusion.
First impressions are all important, and if we already knew that Damon Johnson was ridiculously talented, then still, its good that this debut solo record confirms it. Now, don’t leave it getting on for 30 years until the next one, yeah?