âListen to the music of your rockânâroll dreams...â
If you are already a fan of Johan Ashertonâs 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 rockânâroll album, a collection of nine new and original songs under the title âJohan Ashertonâs Diamondsâ. 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 Johanâs music you will find âJohan Ashertonâs Diamondsâ 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 Johanâs 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 âfillsâ. The album was recorded, mixed and produced by Patrick Chevalot, another close friend from Johanâs âmusical familyâ.
Many of the songs begin with classic rockânâroll riffs but then take off into cool, dark Lou Reed/Velvet Underground/Rolling Stones territory (Ooh I Miss You, All Your RockânâRoll Dreams). Elsewhere thereâs a hint of rockabilly meets âNew Waveâ (May First) a song which can extend into âa bit of a jamâ when played live. Thereâs also a nod to Johanâs folk albums in the song âTalk Of The Townâ and a serious look at love and relationships in âLeahâ. Then thereâs the beautiful love and life affirming ballad âStruck By Lightning, Touched By Frostâ- you may easily find yourself humming the melody for the rest of the day.
Brass and saxophone embellish the up-tempo boogie of âLonely Feelingâ. Meanwhile a glimpse of Johanâs wry sense of humour appears on âLife Of The Partyâ as he sings âI have a friend, heâs getting old, wants to carry onâ - the perfect song for those of us who will always be âpushing on seventeenâ in our hearts. You can hear the influences of Johanâs 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 âJohan Ashertonâs Diamondsâ is furnished by Pascal Favriou and thereâs an immaculate rhythm section consisting of JC Poligot on drums and newcomer Oli Dee on electric bass. Patrick Chevalotâs daughter, Marie, provides exquisite backing vocals on a number of tracks; her voice is the perfect foil for Johanâs deep tones. The albumâs final track âHoly Grailâ is mysterious, soulful and uplifting; it begins with Johanâs voice accompanied by grand piano and continues with Marie taking lead vocal duties, over an orchestral and choral backing.
I would play âJohan Ashertonâs Diamondsâ 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! Itâs an album to treasure, to listen to many times over. Itâs rockânâroll with class!