Johnson County

  • Seattle, WA, USA
Band: Cover Band: Original Country

"Seattle alt-country"

Between bar fights and swing shifts, Dano wrote songs. He watched dusty big rigs pull away from the hot desert truck stop where he worked as a short-order cook, then wrote about the longing to leave behind Eastern Washington's dirt roads and lonely taverns. A Native American in impoverished white Yakima, raised by a cowboy foster father, he didn’t fit in. So he got out, Seattle bound, with two packed cars and song writing partner, Jason. Months later, after setting up camp from their parked cars at Green Lake, Johnson County gave Seattle's alt-country scene a much-needed kick in the ass.Like their major influences, including Steve Earle, Son Volt, Neil Young, and CCR, Johnson County plays for keeps, luring you in with toe-tapping rhythms and hooking you for good with Paul’s poignant solos and Dano’s soulful harmonica. Anyone who’s ever been to a Johnson County show knows it’s impossible to sit still once their first song reaches its chorus. People come in off the streets to see who’s playing, and more than a few audiences have been known to shake off their Seattle chill and give the two-step a try. If you haven’t seen them live before, by the end of the night you just want to know when their next show’s scheduled.Many of the songs on the debut CD, “Johnson County,” parody country life – after all, the album itself is a caricature of the small towns Dano tumbled through during his early years. “Jesus Drives a Ford” is a spirited, tongue-in-cheek snapshot of the Savior in His pickup, while “Good Country Lovin’” could double as a Jerry Springer episode. But Dano’s experiences bring gravity to some of the lighthearted lyrics. “Johnson County Blues” challenges the rose-colored memories of small town America evoked in many mainstream country songs by unapologetically recalling the alcoholism and depression that ran rampant in the small towns of Eastern Washington during his youth. The underbelly of rural life spurs many people to flee; as their cars pull out onto the highway, “Kiss My Ass Goodbye” reminds them that sometimes it’s better to leave than stay in a place you don’t belong. With this album, Johnson County’s members have made their own place, bringing their country roots to Seattle.

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