Desert Muse Johnny Blueheart releases 'On the Loose'

Posted 6/5/20

Johnny Blueheart's debut EP starts out with a traveling song - a fitting choice for a musician whose life has been redefined in many ways by a catalyzing journey.

Blueheart comes from the suburbs of New York City and grew up working on his family's Willow Ridge Farm, a 32-acre farm in the Hudson Valley. Blueheart went on to work as a cinematographer and singer before he pushed the pause button on his life's trajectory and took a trip out West to camp, wander and reflect.

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Desert Muse Johnny Blueheart releases 'On the Loose'

Posted

Johnny Blueheart's debut EP starts out with a traveling song - a fitting choice for a musician whose life has been redefined in many ways by a catalyzing journey.

Blueheart comes from the suburbs of New York City and grew up working on his family's Willow Ridge Farm, a 32-acre farm in the Hudson Valley. Blueheart went on to work as a cinematographer and singer before he pushed the pause button on his life's trajectory and took a trip out West to camp, wander and reflect.

After spending significant time wandering the Southwest, including a stint on a Texas ranch, Blueheart now works as the night manager at Abiquiú's Ghost Ranch.

"On the Loose" is a collection of five original songs written by Blueheart in the country-western, Americana vein. He recorded the songs at Ghost Ranch while in quarantine. Blueheart sings and plays guitar, piano and harmonica on the EP. He is joined by Bob Kosowski who plays drums on the opening track.

"Travelin' Man" is one of the first songs that Blueheart wrote while at Ghost Ranch. It starts with a handsome trot that carries the song along at a quick clip, bringing home its lyrical message that time is both fleeting and eternal.

Next, Blueheart slows down the pace a touch with the melodic "When I'm Down," which is, Blueheart said, the first song he ever wrote. In "The Backward Step," Blueheart reflects on the renewal he found through his trip out West.

"I had to unplug to plug back in. I had to give up to try again. I had to hit the road to get back home. I had to fall down to stand up proud," Blueheart sings.

"A Candle to My Name" is a love song to love itself, questioning its turns and trajectories. It's a mournful tune, yet the way Blueheart sings it, hopefulness hides in its folds. "Home" picks up the pace, bringing us back full circle to the trotting rhythms of the first track. It's a song about finding your home in yourself, or in the world. Blueheart called it a rallying cry to himself.

"I recorded all of the songs at Ghost Ranch on a remote part of the ranch called Casitaville. We all got furloughed here at the ranch. Thank God the ranch was nice enough to let me still live here," said Blueheart. "There's so much sadness and hurt going on with the pandemic, but if there was ever a silver lining it was that I was given this time to hunker down.

"I actually had been moving toward this period of wanting to record, and once the lockdown happened it was almost like the whole world gave me permission, saying, 'OK, you can just do this right now, because there's nothing else we need you for out here.'"

Blueheart has always been a singer, inspired by various forms of American music. His influences have included doo-wop, barbershop quartets, Ella Fitzgerald, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Mike Patton, the lead singer for the alternative metal band Faith No More.

In the past, Blueheart sang in barbershop quartets in New York City, touring the country and performing at competitions for this American style of a cappella four-part harmony singing. He also sang with a group called Midnight Blue which covered songs sung by Frank Sinatra and other crooners.

"I always enjoyed country music, but it wasn't until I came out West and was driving through the landscapes of the West and in Texas working as a horse wrangler that it just completely intoxicated me and took hold of me," said Blueheart.

"The desert was my muse," Blueheart reflected.

While he had some experience playing guitar, Blueheart said it was when he was traveling on the road that the instrument took on a new meaning for him.

"It's hard to explain what clicked for me. I think it was part of being on the road alone and really making that a focus of my journey. I became obsessed with the guitar and the sound of the guitar, especially finger-style guitar playing which is a style I'm particularly fond of," said Blueheart.

"For all those years, I was doing all that a cappella music. In a way, looking back on that, I was kind of a frustrated singer without an instrument. Once I finally took off with guitar, it was like I have this companion that I can bounce back and forth with that is inspiring me and giving me new ideas."

Blueheart's debut EP will be available for purchase on June 5. For more on the artist, visit johnnyblueheart.com.

Comments

Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.