Will Johnson Plays Thursday Night at the Cactus Cafe
It’s been about eight years since Will Johnson‘s last solo album, Vultures Await, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy. The songwriter does double duty as frontman for Centro-matic (last year, the band released Candidate Waltz) and South San Gabriel, and was also recording and touring with New Multitudes, the Woody Guthrie project featuring Anders Parker, Yim Yames (Jim James of My Morning Jacket) and Jay Farrar.
Scorpion is his latest solo effort, another compelling work by Johnson recorded over a five-day span with producer and longtime collaborator and Centro-matic bandmate Matt Pence, in a studio just outside of Denton. Again, we revisit a rather intimate atmosphere through his songwriting, although the album is instrumentally sparse compared to Vultures Await. Yet you realize it’s Johnson’s voice that is the key instrument. The music remains as personal, and as striking, in its emotional tone. Some of the tracks were composed in the studio, adding to an air of spontaneity, but there’s no lack of depth or intensity.
Johnson will be back on the road for a fall tour, kicking it off with a performance Thursday night at the Cactus Cafe, at 24th St. and Guadalupe, in the Texas Union on the UT campus. Anders Parker joins Johnson on the bill. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 8:30 p.m. Recommended.