If you are looking for a band that blends the power of Whitney Houston with the snaking lines of old-school funk, you are definitely in the right place. The Johnson Family Band brings what you want with their EP Know Wisdom. Through the tracks of the EP, the band spans genres with driving rhythms, snappy sounds and honeyed vocals.
While eclectic in its sound, the EP brings together the styles and passions of the members with grooving ease. Consisting of Roxie Johnson (vocals), Joan Sullivan (guitar), Kamyar Arsani (drums) and Esteban (bass), the band combines their musical experience with thoughtful lyrics. With a little something for everyone woven into the EP, the band has you hooked from the first note to the very last.
The EP opens with ‘Round and Round’ which thrums through you and leads you to a rather decadent horn opening. There is a seductive feeling to the music that builds with theatrical flair and a wonderful touch of rock. Johnson’s vocals top everything off with perfection as she soulfully powers into your senses. There is no way that you can listen to this song without some part of your body moving to the music. Her vocals are so captivating that you can’t help but hook into them and give in to the urge to hear more. The smooth power of her vocals meets the pulse of the melody for a delightful listening experience.
‘Hurricane’ has a slightly rockier opening and really shows you the versatility of the band. The vocals sweep through you and draw you into the eye of the storm while the guitars bring a shock of static energy. There are these pulses to the melody that adds poignancy to the lyrics while the horns rise with soulful beauty. This song is a true reflection of the power of the band as they span genres and styles within a single movement but everything comes together for a melodic flow. You can’t imagine the single going any other way and might just find yourself putting this track on repeat.
The rolling opening of ‘Fall Down’ brings a sense of the open road to you alongside the urge to shimmy and shake. There is a darker edge to the vocals that brings the message of the track to life. Through the lyrics, the band highlights struggles and falling down only to pick yourself up. While there is an acknowledgement of the low points, there is a great motivational edge to this track. As you listen, you are filled with the strength to get back up regardless of what life has to throw at you. If you are feeling a little low, this is definitely the song you need to listen to. From the encouraging vocals to the moving melody, every element is packed with power and empowerment.
‘Seasons’ opens with a more subdued line that vibrates through the low levels. There is a real retro-soul feeling to the track as you are pulled into the story of the lyrics. Johnson’s vocals are enthralling on this track as she slinks into your ears with the bolstering power of deep backing vocals. There is an almost delta soul vibe to this track which is another showcase of the versatility of the band. Partway through the track, everything takes a turn for a faster pace. The shaking pace of the music has your shoulders moving with the rhythm as there is no other option. The power of the vocals continues through this change and only become more enthralling.
The bass opens ‘Angel Walk’ only for light chimes to bring a retro vibe to the track. The movement has a light touch of Motown to pure soul. The slow dance of the track slips across your skin like satin and puts a small smile on your lips. As with the other tracks, there is a stunning layering of sound that wraps around you and has you sinking further under the band’s sound. Each member of the band adds their own flair to the music while Johnson’s vocals mist over you.
‘Rituals’ open with soulful vocals that call out against the silence of the soundscape. The guitars come in with a gruff rock sound that soars through your chest. Together, they take you into the stratosphere and have you gliding on warm air currents. There is a touch of rawness to the track that captures your senses and makes your head bop to the rhythm. While the shortest track of the EP, it is just as captivating as the rest with its own unique edge.
The EP comes to a close with ‘Money Junkie’ which brings a rather funky feeling to the EP. There is a great energy to the track that has you bopping to beat and having a great time. The bounce of the guitars is picked up by the vocals combining for the most epic of good times. Through the lyrics, you are filled with motivation to get out there and do what you want to. The rise and fall of the verse to chorus transition is wonderful and pushes the song to a whole new level.
The Johnson Family Band has you moving to their rhythm with a combination of soul, rock and funk in their endlessly engaging EP Know Wisdom. Each track has its own groove that adds to the overall engagement of the EP. Through the different tracks, the band highlights their versatility and gets you really hooked on their sound.