In these plague-minded times, recollecting those old summer days when we were still able to party with our friends all day is both bitter & sweet. Coming across rock & roll of the sort, one is met with a similar fondness of yesterday, a thankfulness for (another) today, & the hope for a better tomorrow – as such is the case with ‘Stay Real‘, the recent single by Brazilian/ Portlandian composer/ musician Johnny Franco.
A blend somewhere between Bruce Springsteen, Os Mutantes, & Grizzly Bear, shaken, with a dash of chicha, the ‘retro’ vibe is unique & futuristic in its presentation. With wonderfully warm production, a fabulously tracked drum kit, & some nuanced & inspired guitar lines, one is immediately grounded upon hearing the instrumentation. The vocals are especially notable, & heavily present; ranging from grisly-toned realism, painted in poetic reflection, to lovely, mantra-esque harmonic choral arrangements, lyrics feel as if left to a listener’s broader interpretation – perhaps crossing personal relationships, business, & the greater global society, while, particularly, the undercurrent of nature, mother earth, & climate change runs through all our lives.
This is something special, & Johnny Franco is a unique artist in an oversaturated period of music history – do yourself the favor, & delve deeper here: