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Jude Johnstone


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Contemporary folk/country; most recent album more jazzy

Status:

Most recent release, Shatter (2013)

See also:

Jude Johnstone's official site

A fan site

Comparisons:

Other folk/country artists

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Jude Johnstone has has a long career writing songs for such astists as Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Stevie Nicks, and Bette Midler, and has co-written material with Bob Dylan, so indeed the strength of her music is the songwriting, which has both a storyteller's touch and hooks that could catch just about anyone except those persnickity people who don't like easy hooks (which I have to confess sometimes includes me). Her overall sound is light pop country/folk. She has a kind of odd voice, expressive, but a little child-like with a smoky flavor. It doesn't have a lot of range or special effects, but she owns these songs and it shows. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Recommended first album:

On a Good Day for her folkier side, but my personal favourite is Blue Light so far.(sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Recordings:


Coming of Age

Release info:

2002—BoJak Records—BJR 8014-2

Availability:

See BoJak Records' site

Ecto priority:

Recommended for folk/country fans

Group members:

Jude Johnstone—vocal (all tracks), piano (3, 8, 11), keyboards (5, 9), backing vocals (9)

Guest artists:

Dave Pomeroy—upright bass (1), bass (2, 4, 6, 9, 10)
Shannon Forrest—drums (1, 2, 4, 6, 10)
Biff Watson—acoustic guitar (1, 2, 4, 6, 10)
George Marinelli—electric guitar (1, 2, 4)
John Hobbs—keyboards (1, 8), piano (2, 4, 6, 7, 10), Fender Rhodes (2), B3 organ (3, 4, 6, 7, 10), synth (3)
Sal Garza—violin (1)
Mary Ramsey (John & Mary, 10,000 Maniacs)—viola (1)
Valerie Carter—backing vocals (4)
John Catching—cello (3, 8, 11)
Jackson Browne—backing vocals (3, 10)
Jill Knight, Joseph Jenkins, Trisha Yearwood—backing vocals (4)
Kevin McCormick—bass (5, 7, 8)
Mauricio Lewak—drums (5, 7), cajon drum (8)
Charles Duncan—backing vocals (4), hammered dobro (5), accordion (5), penny whistle (5), rhythm guitar (7), programming (9), guitar (9), M-Tron (9)
David Mansfield—violin (5)
Bonnie Raitt—backing vocals (6, 7), slide guitar (7)
Jennifer Warnes—backing vocals (7)
David Davidson—violin (8, 11)
Kris Wilkinson—viola, string arrangement (8, 11)
Sam Bacco—percussion (9)
Garth Fundis—backing vocals (9)
John Willis—mandolin (10)
MaryAlice Hoepfinger—harp (11)

Produced by:

Garth Fundis, Charles Duncan, Jude Johnstone (in various configurations in each track)

Comments:

Pleasantly folky pop for the most part. I found the songwriting a little more clichéd than on later albums, both in the tunes and the lyrics—just a little too generic here, especially on the ballads, such as "Wounded Heart" and "When Someone Speaks Your Name". (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

On a Good Day

Release info:

2005—BoJak Records—BJR 8113-2

Availability:

See BoJak Records' site

Ecto priority:

Recommended for folk/country fans

Group members:

Jude Johnstone—piano, vocal

Guest artists:

Mauricio Lewak—drums, djembe, cajon drum
Kevin McCormick—bass, upright bass
Bob Lipeman—cello
Charles Duncan—acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, baritone guitar, water glass, organ, programming, harmonica, synth, penny whistle, backing vocals
Marc Macisso
Bonnie Raitt—backing vocals
Jackson Browne—backing vocals
Mary Ramsey (John and Mary)—viola
Julie Miller—backing vocals
Tyson Leonard—violin
Rodney Crowell—backing vocals

Produced by:

Charles Duncan and Jude Johnstone

Comments:

Jude Johnstone is an evocative storytelling lyricist, and I found her stories intriguing so this album grew on me, even if some of the tunes and rhymes can be a little predictable. Sometimes that kind of predictability can be a strength—especially in the country/folk world, by an artist who feels as honest and soulful as Jude Johnstone does. Whether she's singing about the breakup of a marriage of 20 years or a woman who wanted to be an actress but was burned in a fire, it feels like she knows what she's singing about. She has a lot of respect in the field, which the names of the people singing backing vocals on these tracks demonstrates.
     Fans of country/folk will find this album full of delights. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Blue Light

Release info:

2007—BoJak Records—BJR 40105-2

Availability:

See BoJak Records' site

Ecto priority:

Recommended for bluesy jazz fans

Group members:

Jude Johnstone—vocals, piano, vibes

Guest artists:

David Piltch—upright bass
Danny Frankel—drums, bongs, shaker, tambourine, percussion
Matt Margucci—muted trumpet, trumpet
Marc Macisso—soprano sax (3, 7), alto sax (5, 9)
Freddy Koella—acoustic guitar (5), guitars (100)
Paul Severtson—violin (6, 8, 10)
Randy Garacci—violin (6)
Michael Nowak—viola (6)
Jeanne Shumway—cello (6, 8, 10)
Vince Mendowz—string arrangement (6)
Kathleen Lenski—violin (8, 10)
Brynn Albanese—violin (8, 10)
Tim Hosman—string arrangement (8, 10)
Chuck Damonico—upright bass (12)
Mark Hatch—muted trumpet (12)

Produced by:

Jude Johnstone

Comments:

This is a smoky, bluesy jazz album, and I'm surprised just how much I like it and how well Jude Johnstone's somewhat girly/smoky voice suits this. It's heavy with atmosphere (but not over-played) and takes me right into its world—a delightful surprise whch shows the breadth of Jude Johnstone's songwriting talents. "Losin' Hand" is probably my favourite track here—a blues track about someone who has messed something big up for themselves: the tune is sad but also lively, the vocals yearning, the lyrics perfectly allusive but not too much. A wonderful album for fans of bluesy jazz. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)


Thanks to Sophia Gurley for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2014-05-26 15:30:44.
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