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Reviews: Johan Asherton's Diamonds - - 2015

‚??Listen to the music of your rock‚??n‚??roll dreams...‚?Ě

If you are already a fan of Johan Asherton‚??s music you will know about the passion and artistry he brings to his songs. You will have been eagerly looking forward to his re-discovery of rock‚??n‚??roll album, a collection of nine new and original songs under the title ‚??Johan Asherton‚??s Diamonds‚??. For this album Johan has brought together a group of musician friends whom he has known for many years. It is, however, the first time they have all worked together on a project of this scale. If you are new to Johan‚??s music you will find ‚??Johan Asherton‚??s Diamonds‚?? a sparkling and accessible introduction to the musical taste of this gifted singer-songwriter-guitarist from Paris.

The album is a triumph. The musical arrangements feature layer upon layer of beautiful, evocative guitar sounds created by Johan with Terry Brisack. The pairing of Johan‚??s warm bass-baritone voice with a vintage Gretsch electric guitar is one of the delights of this album. It is a match made in heaven. I am reliably informed that Stratocasters, Telecasters and Epiphones were also used, with Johan playing all the guitar solos and Terry supplying the ‚??fills‚?Ě. The album was recorded, mixed and produced by Patrick Chevalot, another close friend from Johan‚??s ‚??musical family‚?Ě.

Many of the songs begin with classic rock‚??n‚??roll riffs but then take off into cool, dark Lou Reed/Velvet Underground/Rolling Stones territory (Ooh I Miss You, All Your Rock‚??n‚??Roll Dreams). Elsewhere there‚??s a hint of rockabilly meets ‚??New Wave‚?Ě (May First) a song which can extend into ‚??a bit of a jam‚?Ě when played live. There‚??s also a nod to Johan‚??s folk albums in the song ‚??Talk Of The Town‚?? and a serious look at love and relationships in ‚??Leah‚??. Then there‚??s the beautiful love and life affirming ballad ‚??Struck By Lightning, Touched By Frost‚??- you may easily find yourself humming the melody for the rest of the day.

Brass and saxophone embellish the up-tempo boogie of ‚??Lonely Feeling‚??. Meanwhile a glimpse of Johan‚??s wry sense of humour appears on ‚??Life Of The Party‚?? as he sings ‚??I have a friend, he‚??s getting old, wants to carry on‚?Ě - the perfect song for those of us who will always be ‚??pushing on seventeen‚?Ě in our hearts. You can hear the influences of Johan‚??s musical heroes in his songs; Kevin Ayers, Marc Bolan, Keith Richards, Eddie Cochran, Vince Taylor, but Johan Asherton is very much his own man with his own ideas and his own unique voice. I cannot think of another artist working today who sings so beautifully in the lower vocal register.

Skilful keyboard backing on ‚??Johan Asherton‚??s Diamonds‚?? is furnished by Pascal Favriou and there‚??s an immaculate rhythm section consisting of JC Poligot on drums and newcomer Oli Dee on electric bass. Patrick Chevalot‚??s daughter, Marie, provides exquisite backing vocals on a number of tracks; her voice is the perfect foil for Johan‚??s deep tones. The album‚??s final track ‚??Holy Grail‚?? is mysterious, soulful and uplifting; it begins with Johan‚??s voice accompanied by grand piano and continues with Marie taking lead vocal duties, over an orchestral and choral backing.

I would play ‚??Johan Asherton‚??s Diamonds‚?? when getting ready for a night out, or as a cool soundtrack for a party, or the morning after a party. It also sounds great in the car. So, anytime really! It‚??s an album to treasure, to listen to many times over. It‚??s rock‚??n‚??roll with class.

Susan Lomas -