Music Day 4: Freedy Johnston
Another sunny afternoon, another stroll down South Congress, a wander into the Yard Dog for a beer and to see what’s up and, unexpectedly, it’s Freedy Johnston. Johnston, you might remember, dropped one beautifully wry, understated guitar pop album, one of the best of its kind ever, in This Perfect World in 1994. He’s been making records ever since, seven of them since then and one more on the way, but operates much lower on the radar screen now. His bass player is wearing a shirt that reads “Nobody gives a damn about your band,” and that, unfortunately, about sums it up.
All of which is a shame, because Johnston plays a lovely little set, first goofing during the sound check on the Who’s “Tattoo”, then the rocking “Don’t Fall In Love with a Lonely Girl”, and the e-bowed and eerie “Neon Repairman”. Those two seem to be new ones, but Johnston dipped back into the catalogue for “This Perfect World”, and, from his recent covers album My Favorite Waste of Time , a lounge-swinging, hard-rhythmed take on “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”
“I’ve got one more. What song do you want to hear?” asks Johnston at the end, but he already knows the answer. He and his band break out the ruefully perfect, worn, and wonderful “Bad Reputation”. A perfect world, indeed.