SHAKEN: OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
On this record Ms Johnson delves deep into her influences of old country, the blues and honky tonk music. The choice of material is imperative to Hannah, who has spent a long time studying the vocal styles of country greats such as Faron Young, George Jones & Ray Price.
At a time when it is fashionably cool to be “americana” and dressing “vintage” is de rigueur, it is easy to feel tired of the cliches around the modern country scene. Much of the music coming out of Nashville today seems to be either watered down country pop, or stylistically affected Americana with chanted choruses and stomping bass drums.
However, there is also reaction against these extreme ends of the industry machine and artists like Hannah Johnson are approaching their music with a refreshing honesty and commitment to the core principles of ‘old’ country music, celebrating the heritage and history rather than diluting it. Undoubtedly spending so much time in Austin, Texas has influenced her immensely, as the music she is making falls much more under the bracket of what Dale Watson is doing with his “Ameripolitan” genre than the new country from Nashville. Hannah sings classic country songs about drinking and heart ache straight from a Honky Tonk, her sultry and smokey voice taking on the likes of Patsy Cline, Skeets McDonald and Willie Nelson. But what also cannot be ignored in her voice is the strong influence from the blues, as exemplified on her cover of an old Charlie Patton number and her powerful rendition of ‘Trouble In Mind’.
The stand out tracks however, are her own compositions, ‘Your Girlfriend Hates Me’ could perhaps be seen as a modern, less aggressive take on Loretta’s “fist city”, clearly placing relationships between women at the centre of her experience, and proving not always easy being the only girl in the band. ‘Morning Cocktail’ then takes her in a more soulful and reflective direction, lamenting a highly destructive lost love, the dangerous numbing qualities of alcohol, while demonstrating her vocal prowess. ‘Nowhere Train’ immediately hits an infectious country groove, delivering classic twangy telecaster and providing a strong catchy chorus as the album’s opener.
Ms Johnson’s fans include Imelda May, Robert Plant and Ronnie Wood, indeed Hannah and her band provided the entertainment for Ronnie’s 70th Birthday party in 2017. 2018 saw great success for Hannah as she picked up ‘Most Successful British & Irish Single’ for her original song ‘Your Girlfriend Hates Me’ in addition to earning the prestigious ‘UK Artist of the Year’ title at UK Country Music Awards in September, notably Hannah is the first solo female to ever win this competitive award.
Hannah spent almost 15 years leading her family band The Toy Hearts, touring extensively in the UK, Europe and the USA. Hannah’s composition The Captain remains the biggest hit for her family band, as song that is a testament to both her song writing and her fierce independence – no body except Hannah is the captain of Hannah! She is an Alumni of the prestigious IBMA Leadership Bluegrass program, and has previously worked representing British bluegrass music in both America and Europe.
2019 looks set to be another busy and successful year ahead for Ms. Johnson who kicked off January in Austin, Texas recording with her family band ‘The Toy Hearts’ for their fifth studio album ‘Heart Rehab’. Following her debut solo release ‘Shaken’ in 2017, which was recorded at the Ameripolitan Studios also in ATX, Hannah received significant critical acclaim earning Hotdisc’s Country Music Award for ‘Most Successful Single of the Year’ for her original composition ‘Your Girlfriend Hates Me’ and indeed, was the first solo female to ever be awarded ‘UK Country Artist of the Year’ at the UK Country Music Awards in 2018. Hannah’s commitment to playing dynamic live shows regularly with her full band sees her diary constantly updating, with a string of dates across the country this coming year. With her refreshingly honest approach to honoring traditional Country and Honky Tonk music instead of diluting it, Hannah has built up a loyal and well respected following in the both the UK and USA.