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Jude Johnstone
On A Good Day

Review By Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
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Jude Johnstone On A Good Day

CD Label: BoJak Records


  Jude Johnstone, it sounds like a name with a lot of depth and soul doesn't it? It came as no surprise to me that this woman's music is deep and emotionally honest, just like her name. This music is so good, and her voice is hauntingly familiar, as if I already knew her. Well, one minute into the opening title track, it sure felt that way.

On A Good Day is 11 tracks of heartfelt and honest to goodness down to earth tunes that will warm you from head to toe and get your body moving at the same time. Johnstone is an incredibly gifted writer/musician/vocalist. Folks like Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt and Trisha Yearwood think so too; they all sing the songs she wrote. This does not surprise me in the least. Another point of interest is the fact that Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Rodney Crowell and Julie Miller sing some terrific background vocals on this album.

There were particular songs that really moved me because of the lyrics and the music. "Hard Lessons" is incredible, a sure bet for a smash single if I ever heard one, and "Evelyn" is drenched in from-the-belly calling out lyrics like-Evelyn oh Evelyn/Your whispers on my lips/Your ghost has burned a hole in me/Out through my fingertips… powerful stuff. The track holds a special meaning for Johnstone. "Evelyn," based on a true story of her great aunt Evelyn, recounts the events that actually happened in her home town of Ellsworth, Maine. Jude sings reflectively about feeling her ghost burning right through her fingertips to the ivory keys, inspiring her to play and sing these marvelous lyrics. "Deep Water" is another song that sent chills up my spine with a lingering melody.

Jude Johnstone is a poet with the gift of taking her words to another level through music. Now everyone can actually get inside what she is saying by hearing her country inflected roots rock. I must give the nod to all the musicians involved with this recording, they are superb, and the production values are excellent.

This could very well be the sleeper album of 2005, although I seriously doubt anyone will miss this important work. Watch for the name Jude Johnstone more, you are bound to watch this shooting star take flight very soon.




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