Most people probably know Will Johnson from one of his bands or projects. He fronted Centro-Matic, which called it quits in 2014, and South San Gabriel, which produced the haunting album Welcome, Convalescence, a personal favorite. As a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he’s a perfect collaborator, and was a central part of the Woody Guthrie-inspired New Multitudes along with Jim James, Jay Farrar, and Anders Parker. That particular group put on an absolutely magical live show, and I’m hoping it happens again somewhere down the road. Some might even recognize him from his time in the drummer’s throne with Monsters of Folk (Jim James, Conor Oberst, M. Ward and Mike Mogis).
Johnson is currently at work on a new album, and just released a possible preview, a stripped-down beauty called “Nervousness Fangs.” The man can do a lot with one acoustic guitar and a harmony vocal.
While we’re waiting for the new album, we can also enjoy the single he released in April for Records Store Day, “Inclined.” Johnson is up for a possible GRAMMY nomination for Best American Roots Performance. And check his touring schedule. He’s got a few dates left this year opening up for Bob Mould and Jason Isbell. On a side note, check out Isbell’s “To A Band That I Loved,” which he wrote as a eulogy for Johnson’s Centro-Matic and included on Something More Than Free.