Born and raised in the center of country and bluegrass music, Kentucky native David Everett Johnson was exposed to various genres and artists, but it wasn't until he heard Johnny Cash's Live at Folsom Prison that he was drawn to the power and meaning behind songs through writing and storytelling. Johnson has since fused his own writing and storytelling with the release of two singles "Colorblind," and "Somewhere" as well as his first album, Black Mountain which is set to be released in the coming months. Johnson has also just released his newest single to date, "Just Right."
This track features a very traditional sound that stays true to Johnson's roots. The upbeat song was undoubtedly written as a feel-good song for the listener, making it the perfect song for the summertime. With the current state of the Nashville country music scene, this song will be a friendly reminder to anyone who favors the simplicity and the melodies of 90's country music.
David Everett Johnson's auspicious start is just a small sample of what's to come for the rising country artist. Johnson will be showcasing his new single this summer, performing in Wisconsin later this month.
Check out a Q&A I had with David:
In your debut, self-produced album "Black Mountain" how important was it for you to tell your great grandfather's story of hardship and sacrifice and how is that mirrored with your musical career?
"It is mirrored in the sense that there was certainly a lot of uncertainty in moving to Nashville, not knowing anyone, and pursuing a career as an artist when it seems to be harder than ever to achieve. Like my great-grandfather I am looking for a better future but there is always risk and sacrifice with any good thing in life."
With the current state of country music and the direction that it's going, are you hoping that a song like "Just Right" gives fans a friendly reminder of what "real" country music sounded like until about five or six years ago?
"I’m not a huge fan of the term, “real country music” but I definitely hope to make music that appeals both to more traditionally-minded listeners as well as modern country fans. In spite of the direction of Country as a whole, I believe there will always be a place for fiddle, steel, and a good honky tonk song in Country music."
Being a Kentucky native, are there fellow Kentuckian Country artists that you looked up to as a child?
"Absolutely. Loretta Lynn was always one of our favorites growing up. Bill Monroe and Keith Whitley are a couple others that were played often in our house. As I grew older there were many others that I came to love the more I delved into Country Music’s history and tradition: Redd Foley, Tom T. Hall, and J.D. Crowe among others. Kentucky has such a rich musical history and it’s great to see Kentucky artists really leading the way in Americana and traditional country- guys like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Tyler Childers, and Dillon Carmichael among many others."
How much did the variety of Music you were exposed to as a child help you make your own unique sound?
"Having a wide variety of musical influences has really helped me to think outside the box both musically and lyrically in my writing. That’s the kind of music I want to write- music that hearkens back to the traditions of country while also incorporating cool and interesting elements from Rock, Jazz, Blues, etc."
What do you want to accomplish musically by the end of 2018?
"I just want to continue to build my following and fanbase. I am currently writing and thinking about material for a second album and I hope to get that underway before this year is through."