BRIT Award winner artist to play Stornoway

Renowned Producer Ethans Johns will visit the Highlands and Islands on his solo tour
Renowned Producer Ethans Johns will visit the Highlands and Islands on his solo tour

Ethan Johns, who has worked with Sir Paul McCartney, Tom Jones and Paolo Nutini, is touring his second album, The Reckoning.

This will be the first time that Ethan has come to the Western Isles after extensive touring throughout the rest of the UK, Europe and America.

He said: “I haven’t yet been north of Aberdeen, but I’m really looking forward to coming up. I have friends who have played on the islands like Laura Marling, who loved it and said it’s a beautiful part of the world.

“I’ll be on my own, playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar and I also have a little drum machine for some of the bluesy stuff.”

Ethan isn’t sure how he’d sum up his own style of music, but says singer/songwriter is a good start. Neither does Ethan have a set-list. It’s a showcase of the new album, but fans of his first might be treated to a favourite.

“I’m not so much about having one song that I play over and over again for two years. I’m a marketing man’s nightmare.

“I tend to just have a list of songs that I’m currently playing and I choose in the moment what seems the best thing to play at that time.”

The new record is based on a story. It retraces the journey of the album’s protagonist, Thomas Younger, an Englishman who follows his reckless older brother James across the Atlantic to the America of the 1850s and treks westward across the endless expanse of frontier.

Ethan wrote the material for this album while on his last tour.

It was recorded in just two days and produced by Grammy nominated Ryan Adams in his LA studio.

Adams has himself had three albums produced by Ethan as a solo act. The pair have been collaborating for 15 years.

“I walked down there about four or five o’clock in the afternoon,” Johns recalls. “He had a couple of microphones set up, and we made recordings of the first eight songs in sequence. I’m pretty sure I only sang everything once.

“I think there was one song that he asked me to do again. I had no real idea where I was. I had just gotten off a plane, I had been on the road for months, and then all of a sudden it was 10 o’clock at night and we’d recorded 80 percent of the record.

“The next day I came in and I did the next two, and that’s the record.”

His first album, If Not Now Then When, was produced by his father, legendary producer Glyn Johns, who produced records for Bob Dylan, The Who and The Rolling Stones.

Ethan has been producing records for well over a decade, and as a multi-instrumentalist he has performed on many of his own recordings. However, he didn’t release his first full solo album as a singer/songwriter until 2012.

“If you dig a lot deeper in I made my first record about 30 years ago. I was playing with Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1994. I was playing with Emmylou Harris as a guitar player.

“I love producing records but I’ve been putting my own stuff off to help other people make their music and it’s time now that I do my own stuff because I enjoy it. That’s the main reason I do it. I really enjoy it.

“It’s a fantastic thing to write a song and have people enjoy it. I’ve written songs all my life and it means a lot to me to sing them.”

Ethan Johns will perform at the Woodlands Centre, Stornoway, on Friday, May 16th, 8pm.

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