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CD Review: MICHAEL JOHNATHON - SongFarmer Pickin' & Peckin' on a Porch

SongFarmer Pickin' & Peckin' on a Porch
Sunday Afternoon - Gun - Happy Luv - Little Maggie - Sunrise - Rainbow Wife - Pray - SongFarmer's Front Porch - Rocking Chair Rag - Pamper Creek

A lot of my followers remember when Michel Johnathon came to our National Old Time Music Festival, I believe it was in Missouri Valley, Iowa, at that time.  He was an astonishing folk singer at that time, and still is however he is much much more successful.  He went on to establish WoodSongs, an incredible 'live' folk music radio show emanating from the east.  He became so well established with this program, he is now working hard to bring home-spun music back to the front porch.  In other words, he wants to gather the global community of front porch minded musicians and help them do good work, bring roots music education into the schools free of charge, and enhance communities by redirecting the tremendous energies of local musicians.  Pretty much what we've been doing with a festival the last 43 years, trying to keep the front-porch sound of 'real' old-timey, country, folk, bluegrass music as a destination.  This new adventure by Michael Johnathon's is also part of his WoodSongs creation, only more so, it's a Front Porch Association.  This new CD is a very nicely done folk album, with all the requisites of a super good folk artist, utilizing only his own acoustic guitar and/or his own drop-thumb banjo.  Very nicely done, and certainly a good representation of what 'front porch' picking would be like.  How cool is that?  He calls the banjo a song farmer's plow.  So are guitars and mandolins and banjos and fiddles, all of those down-home front-porch instruments that were so incredibly important to rural life, when rural life was really rural.  Today 'rural' is thousands of acres of corn and soybean, and all those other very profitable pursuits, but in Michael Johnathon's mind, it's also the 'music' that saw the rural folks through their hard times, and it's also the music that should still be not only recognized, but esteemed.  Super good CD Michael, I especially liked your 'modern' approach to what folk music used to be all about, namely writing and singing about 'problems' as well as 'cures.'  Your song "Gun" is exactly that, and so needed in your age group these days, well any age group.  Henry David Thoreau "To effect the quality of the day, that is the highest of Arts."  I'm going to pass this delightful CD to the Rural Roots Music Commission who make their CD of the Year awards at our annual National Old Time Music Festival in Iowa.  I know they are looking for good 'folk' music candidates, simply because we don't have too many folk artists coming down from Hibbing, Minnesota, these days.  Good luck Johnathon, if there is anything I can do to help with your SongFarmer  project, and good luck with the Rural Roots folks.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Country Music Association  www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International  

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