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Antony and the Johnsons


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Dark cabaret with a touch of blues and pop

Status:

Most recent release, Turning (live and documentary, CD/DVD, 2014); ; most recent release of new material, Swanlights (2010)

See also:

Antony and the Johnsons' site

Antony and the Johnsons' MySpace page

Wikipedia's entry on Antony and the Johnsons

Comparisons:

Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, Marc Almond, Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music)

Covers/own material:

Own, occasional co-writing

General comments:

Wow. he has a voice midway between Bryan Ferry's suave croon and a blues singer's uneartly wail. The music is lush, intense cabaret. He has a way to connect the listener to both sorrow and rapture in the same song. Highly recommended for all fans of the genre. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Antony is a dark beautiful and large androgynous NYC diva and his voice is soooo sublime. His image and its power is based more in the fact of his androgyny than it is that he is a gay male... in the music, he is neither masculine nor feminine (though his voice ranges between high heavy clear tenor and weighty round baritone), but more just a force, a humanity that has been exposed and made vulnerable. If you enjoy dark-ish cabaret (Antony is, after all, a diva), this will blow your mind. (John.Drummond)

Recommended first album:

Antony and the Johnsons or I Am a Bird Now

Recordings:


Antony and the Johnsons

Release info:

2000—Durto, re-released by Secretly Canadian

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Antony Hegarty—vocals, piano
Todd Cohen—drums

Guest artists:

François Gehin—bass
Vicky Leavitt—cello
William Basinski—clarinet
Barb Morrison—clarinet, saxophone
Mariana Davenport—flute
Charles Neiland—guitar effects
Baby Dee—harp
Cady Finlayson, Liz Maranville—violin

Produced by:

Antony Hegarty

Comments:

Antony and the Johnsons is beautiful, dark cabaret sung with wavering emotion by a bald, pale hermaphroditic person named Antony. His voice is beyond gender—he summons recollections of Brel, Piaf, Marc Almond and Simone. The songs are of love lost. Pianos, cellos and violins swirling the background. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

I Am a Bird Now

Release info:

2005—Secretly Canadian

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Antony Hegarty—organ, piano, vocals
Julia Kent—cello
Parker Kindred—drums (7)
Jeff Longston—bass
Maxim Moston—violin
Doug Wieselman—saxophone

Guest artists:

Devendra Banhart—guitar (5), vocals (8)
Steve Bernstein—horn
John Bollinger—drums (5)
Keith Bonner—flute
Boy George—vocals (5)
Todd Cohen—drums
Danielle Farina—viola (2, 9)
Jason Hart—piano (6)
Rainy Orteca—bass (7)
Lou Reed—guitar and vocals (7)
Paul Shapiro—horn
Rufus Wainwright—vocals (6)
Joan Wasser—viola
Julia Yasuda—Morse Code, vocals (9)

Produced by:

Antony Hegarty

Comments:

My god, the Mercury Prize got it right! This totally surprised me, being a beautiful, soulful, soaring slab of tunefulness. Imagine Bryan Ferry with added soul (and vibrato). This just brings tears to my eyes. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

One of the best of the year. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)


The Crying Light

Release info:

2009—Secretly Canadian

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Antony Hegarty, Will Holshouser, Julia Kent, Parker Kindred, Rob Moose, Maxim Moston, Doug Wieselman

Guest artists:

Lisa Albrecht, Tim Albright, Leise Anschuetz, Keith Bonner, Greg Cohen, Danielle Farina, Bridget Kibbey, Alexandra Knoll, Brian Miller, Suzy Perelman, Sarah Hewitt Ruth, Antoine Silverman, Hiroko Taguchi, Anja Wood, Amy Zoloto—orchestra
Nico Muhly—arrangements

Produced by:

Antony Hegarty

Comments:

Probably my least favorite of the Antony and The Johnsons albums, but still better than most stuff out there—some heart-breakingly beautiful songs on this. One of my favorite albums of 2009. (jjhanson@att.net)

I've found impossible to work out where one song ends and another begins, so similar in tone are they. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)


Swanlights

Release info:

2010—Secretly Canadian

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Antony Hegarty, Julia Kent, Parker Kindred, Jeff Langston, Rob Moose, Doug Wieselman, Thomas Bartlett, Maxim Moston

Guest artists:

Lisa Albrecht, Tim Albright, Leise Anschuetz, Kevin Barker, Steven Bernstein, Keith Bonner, Gregg Cohen, Billy Crockett, Danielle Farina, Sara Hewitt-Roth, Will Holshouser, Briggan Krauss, Suzy Perelman, Troy Rinker III, Paul Shapiro, Antoine Silverman, Hiroko Taguchi, Anja Wood, Chad Yarbrough, Amy Zoloto—orchestra
James Holmes—conducting
Nico Muhly—arrangements
Björk—vocals

Comments:

The book is gorgeous—a coffee-table-quality book of Antony's unique graphic design—lyrics, drawings, collages, etc. The CD, after first listen, reminds me a bit more of Veda Hille than Antony's first two albums.
     A bit more adventurous and exciting than his third album, with some pretty intricate piano and orchestra arrangemnets on a couple of numbers. But like the third album, somewhat lacking the passion and emotion of his first two albums (if that makes sense). Still a beautiful album. Only complaint is that lyrics get really repetitive on a couple of the songs. (jjhanson@att.net)

Cut the World

Release info:

2012—Secretly Canadian

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

It's rare for me not to disqualify live albums upfront for the "Great Albums" compilation but I thought the fact that Cut the World features an entire orchestra accompaniment would merit its inclusion. On top of that, some of the versions featured are better to the studio recordings. Also, "Future Feminism" is a great manifesto (that I happen to wholeheartedly agree with). (raschee@gmail.com)

"Future Feminism" aside (I'm simply not interested in 7.5 minutes of rambling on religion and social politics), Cut the World is a beautiful album. I especially like the new title track. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Further info:

Antony/Antony and the Johnsons have contributed to several compilations. Compilation work includes:

  • "If It Be Your Will" as Antony on Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (2006)
  • "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" on the I'm Not There soundtrack (2007)
  • "Landslide" as Antony on Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac (2012)
Antony's collaborations include:

  • "Happy Christmas, War Is Over" with Boy George as George & Antony on Help! A Day in the Life (2005)
  • "The Ballad of the Sad Young Men" with Marc Almond on his album Stardom Road (2007)
  • "Del suo veloce volo" with Franco Battiato on his album Fleurs 2 (2008)
  • "Ooo Baby Baby" with Marianne Faithfull on her album Easy Come, Easy Go (2008)
  • "I Was Young When I Left Home" with Bryce Dessner on Dark Was the Night (2009)
The Unthanks released a tribute, Diversions, Vol. 1: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons—Live from the Union Chapel, London in 2011.


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2015-04-19 20:59:09.
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