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Ethan Johns - If Not Now Then When?

For years now, the name Ethan Johns was one that graced the liner notes of some of our favorite records. Now the producer-turned-frontman will have his name gracing the marquees of music venues and critics lists with the release of his first solo album. As the title suggests, If Not Now Then When?, embarking on his own performing career was something that's probably been in the works for a while now and has finally come to fruition.

Ethan is the son of legendary record producer Glyn Johns, who himself sat in the studio with legendary artists like Bob Dylan, The Stones, Zeppelin and The Clash (to name a few!). Ethan has followed in his father's footsteps building a solid resume himself. He's worked with some of the current generations most notable acts like Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams and Laura Marling.

In fact the last two names, Adams and Marling, return the favor on If Not Now Then When? performing with Johns. They both lend backing vocals to the pensive "Whip Poor Will". And Adams plays bass and drums on the albums most charismatic moment and first single "Don't Reach Too Far".

If you're unfamiliar with Ethan Johns or just don't know what to expect of If Not Now Then When? the results are rather engaging and telling of a producer that's now in the spotlight. It's a collection of seductive songs that aim not to fool with studio wizardry, but with a focus strictly on the songs themselves. The arrangements for the most part are rather humble and spare. "Hello Sunshine" is reminiscent of great British folk and of course his work with the aforementioned Laura Marling. While gritty moments like "Morning Blues" find Johns in his best voice, and add wonderful flavor to the album. It's not an extravagant coming out party for Ethan Johns, but a well-designed introduction done just right.

Review by Mike Vasilikos, July 25, 2013

Released: December 11, 2012 on Three Crows Records

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