Posts Tagged ‘Barry Walker’

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Close on the heels of “Summerlong” (still in heavy rotation on our turntables), Ripley Johnson (Wooden ShjipsMoon Duo) adds another gem of an album of soon-to-be classics.  Hop in your car, roll down your window – or pop in the earbuds and go on a hike. Most importantly, TURN UP THE VOLUME! These tunes are made for travels of the mind and body! Rich melodies, intimate vocals, elongated epic guitar solos and just a dash of country-rock twang, “Earth Trip” takes you to summers spent in the company of friends, and celebrates mediation, nature, space and stillness.

Rose City Band is celebrated guitarist Ripley Johnson. A prolific songwriter, Johnson started Rose City Band as an outlet nimble enough to match the pace of his writing as well as to explore song writing styles apart from Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo. Rose City Band allows him to follow his musical muses as they greet him and not be bound by the schedules of bandmates and demands of a touring group. On Earth Trip, Johnson colours songs with a country-rock twang and a melancholic, wistful undertone. Themes recur such as pining for summers spent in the company of friends to newer meditations on space, stillness and the splendour of the natural world. Johnson’s laid-back and classically West Coast songs communicate emotions entirely of the moment with both his lyrics, intimate vocal style as well as his elegant elongated guitar lines and astute use of counter-melodies on the pedal steel.

Earth Trip was written during the period of sudden shocks and drastic lifestyle changes of 2020, quite literally “called down off the road” as he sings in elegiac album opener “Silver Places”. Home for an extended period for the first time in years, he was able to reconnect with simple pleasures of home life: hikes in nature, bathing outside and waking with the dawn. Johnson found hope and healing in forming a more mindful relationship with the natural world, from the simple pleasures of tending a garden to sleeping out under the stars. “Lonely Places” in particular captures the sheer joy and freedom of losing oneself in nature, an ode to the wealth of natural beauty the west coast provides, as well as the importance of appreciating wild, open spaces. “In the Rain” seeks beauty and hope in life’s darker moments, while “Dawn Patrol” finds solace in the earth’s natural rhythms.

Recorded primarily at his home in Portland and mixed by Cooper Crain (Bitchin’ BajasCave), the songs on “Earth Trip” make deft use of space through their lean arrangements, guest Barry Walker’s shimmering pedal steel, open and elongated guitar melodies, and upfront and intimate vocals. Johnson describes the arrangements this way; “I was trying to capture that feeling when you take psychedelics and they just start coming on – maybe objects start buzzing in the edges of your vision, you start seeing slight trails, maybe the characteristics of sound change subtly. But you’re not fully tripping yet. Cooper got the idea right away and his mix really captures that feeling.” Johnson’s lithe guitar playing treads an equally fine line between country and cosmic, melodies blooming into long reverb trails and solos evocative of radiant summer warmth.

Earth Trip’s message of interconnectedness with the environment expands on a long country music tradition that draws a symbiotic relationship between storyteller and the land, celebrating the beauty of the natural world without forgetting our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. It cements Johnson’s place as a musician and songwriter of inimitable skill.

“Earth Trip” is available in a few different merch packs – keep reading to learn more, there are only a super limited amount of The Rambler Pack available only to our newsletter subscribers: Rambler Pack includes:  A tasty tote bag (back by popular demand), custom printed rolling papers, a sweet sticker, die cut jacket (picture window) with printing on the inside of the jacket (think on the beach, amigo…) as well as heavy stock inner jacket and a mail order exclusive Wood coloured vinyl.

Very happy to announce our new album, Earth Trip, coming out May 21st on Thrill Jockey Records

Limited edition “Rambler Pack”, which comes with the ltd-edition LP, tote bag, rolling papers and sticker, available on the Thrill Jockey website