(8/10) Jonny Two Bags aka Jonny Wickerham is probabaly a familiar name for each of you. The Californian guitarist is ten years a crucial part of Social Distortion, the band of mainman Mike Ness. Next to that Jonny played with The Cadillac Tramps for many years too.
After so many years in business the six stringer decided to write and produce his first solo album. "Salavtion town" contains serious and well thought through music which still leaves a lot of space for improvisation. It is a mix of Country, Folk and Punk which characterize the tunes on "Salvation town". This is not a too big surprise thinking about his participation in the mighty Social Distortion. Jonny decided to continue with this kind of music, eventhough he gives his solo album an individual note, which is slightly different from Mike Ness' band.
The start of the record couldn't be better. "One foot in the gutter" is a great grooving opener which is very representative for "Salvation town". It's a melodic rock song with folk elements that remind my actually to The Travelling Wilburies.
"Avenues" is a bit faster than the opnener and Jonny is duetting with Gaby Moreno. This adds an extra note to the track since both voices fit really good together. I also have to say that I'm very positive surprised about Jonny's voice anyhow. This guy can more than only playing the guitar. He does a great job behind the mic too. Another cool factor in this tune is the accordion, played by Joel Guzman, which is used for the main theme of this song.
"Ghosts" is an interesting song too (actually there are only interesting tracks on the album). Jonny picks up Irish folk influences and involves them in his music. The song reminds a bit to The Pogues and spreads an Irish pub feeling. A track that smells like beer and cigarettes. It's a mainly acoustic based and it's another duet with Gaby Moreno. I like this very melodic and slightly reflective song.
The album also has a pure ballad. The very emotional and soulful song is called "Alone tonight". the name gives you already a glimpse of an idea about the feelings expressed by the tune. If men get tears in their eyes than with songs like this.
Tom Petty is another name which pops up in my mind while I was listening to the closer "The way it goes". It's a pulsatile rocker with a great sense for a good melody. It's the straigh beat that pushes the song and finalizes a really good debut.
Jonny Two Bags debut was a tremendous surpise to me - in a positive way. It shows that you doesn't have to reinvent the wheel constantly as long as you love the music you play. The album has dedication, passion and sounds fresh.
Fans who love Social Distortion as well as Tom Petty and Johnny Cash should absolutely give "Salvation town" a chance. Beautiful music rock music from a soulful guitarist who knows what's important in music.
- One foot in the gutter
- Then you stand alone
- Clay wheels
- Forlorn walls
- Wayward cain
- Hope dies hard
- Alone tonight
- The way it goes
Label: Isotone Records