Bethan Shuff || January 21st
When appearing on The Honey Box, Jay kept us in the dark about the release date of his EP, and announced the following day that Summer Morning, his 5-track EP was to be released on 23rd January.
I believe that there is no better cure for the January Blues than music – I challenge you all to find one. Opening Jay Johnson’s EP, I was greeted with Jigsaw Piece- one of the tracks that Jay performed live on The Honey Box. Jay’s charismatic personality shines in every song, and energy was one of the things that everyone picked out about him as he performed, never standing still. Jigsaw Piece is even bigger recorded with the addition of female harmonies of Samantha Lloyd that coincide stunningly with Jay’s deep raspy vocals.
Summer Morning, the EP’s title-track is a longer piece, a relaxing and twinkly piece with instruments floating behind Jay’s vocals. The imagery in his lyrics paint crystal clear pictures, his vocals are slow and ring out. An instrumental section lightly flutters around in stereo sound as an ensemble of echoing voices haunt ‘do you remember?’ before Jay cuts in with ‘the times we had?’ and it’s like the beautiful summer imagery had been sliced with a knife. A six minute track can sometimes go on a bit, but Jay keeps Summer Morning fresh, exciting and innovative – expect the unexpected.
Next, A Toast, a track in ¾ time signature that bounces through the speakers as if it were doing The Waltz itself. It was an instant mood-lifter after a groggy, snowy day. The track itself kind of mocks modern relationships in a comical way, and Jay has a brilliant way of telling his stories through both flat spoken vocals and powerful melodic ones.
The fourth track on Summer Morning is slower and more melancholic, with an Ed Sheeran-esque start. Progress is a more harrowing track with dark vocals with his ‘three cheers for progress, hip-hip-hooray, hip-hip-hooray, hip-hip-hooray’ adding a jovial yet ironic slant on the song. Jay has the voice of a man beyond his years, a mature and careful voice that holds power and authority, capturing the attention of every person listening.
The final track on the EP was another that Jay performed on The Honey Box, called You Said. Jay’s strong vocals come in acapella, they don’t need an introductory guitar, the track kicks in with a fast and jumpy rhythm. This is probably the most feel-good and catchy song of Summer Morning. For a single person, Jay gives of a huge presence that fills any room and that really reflects on the EP.
Summer Morning is out on January 23rd, Jay said ‘Put it in your diary, set a reminder on your phone, set a countdown for every second from now until that date.’