You can infer a lot about a person's record collection, influences and worldly experiences just from listening to their original songs. You will know if they bothered to dig farther back and listen to the things that inspired their heroes to create. You will know if they ever wandered the world, if they are well traveled.
The debut album of Dylan Lee Johnston, Just Like Rain, is the story of a poet traveling through the darkness of the world, seeking out those who can point him towards the light.
Just Like Rain is most certainly a worldly collection of songs inspired in equal parts by New Orleans street soul, the ghettos of Kingston, Toots & The Maytals, Tom Waits, Elliott Smith, The Clash, Operation Ivy & a youth spent on the road following the Grateful Dead.
The Debut Album was recorded at Club roar in Nashville, TN. The man behind the knobs was engineer/producer Patrick Damphier (Fielddays, Angel Olson, Stone Jack Jones, Minabirds) who also lent his considerable skills as bassist and drummer on many tracks.
"Please Don't Go" is a three chord summer smash. Thumping radio rhythms and pure rock n roll swagger with existential lyrics pushing towards a youthful Carpe Diem.
"What if I cannot overcome my mortality? And tonight is the only night and after this I'll be free?"
Other musicians on Just Like Rain include Bucky Baxter (Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Steve Earle, REM) who lent his chops on the pedal steel throughout the record, Sam Doores (The Deslondes, Hurray for the Riff Raff) graced the record booth with his blues harp & barbershop harmonies along with Sallie Ford, Ariel Bui & Megan Palmer singing harmonies, keys, violin and harmonium. Brian Wright dropped into the recording sessions with his harmonica and delta blues whine as well as Kai Welch and Aaron Till's soulful arrangements and motown symphony and horn sections, backing Galen Ballinger's cacophony of sound and edgy lead guitar stylings throughout the record.
Poetry was inside the Rock n Roll spirit of Patti Smith and it returns to us again here and now in the lyrics and experience of Dylan Lee Johnston.