Freedy Johnston’s desire to be a musician took hold at a young age and has fueled his determination throughout his life and career. When he first moved to New York to pursue a music career, Johnston pawned his favorite guitar at home in Kansas to pay for his trip; the guitar sold before he could save up the money to buy it back. His music has been influenced by life’s often “bittersweet irony…[returning] to themes of loss, tough luck, and bad timing.”
Fans of Johnston’s might say that those themes loosely apply to his career in the music business. While many think of him as a one-hit wonder – 1994’s “Bad Reputation” was his sole mainstream success – Johnston has put out a dozen albums over 20+ years, and his community of devotees regard him as an artist who “deserves far better than he has received from the music industry,” pointing to rave reviews of his albums and live shows as evidence that his gift for crafting vivid stories and characters through song has gone wildly underappreciated on the popular music scene. Still, Johnston has built an avid community of followers who consider his music to be a well-kept secret.
In a way, Johnston’s somewhat underground status has been a blessing, allowing him the freedom to roam around the country: “Some folks lost track of him after his 1994 hit “Bad Reputation” and 2001’s Right Between the Promises. He has moved around, living in NYC, Austin, Kansas, Madison and Nashville.” Born in Kinsey, Kansas, “a small town with the odd distinction of being equidistant between New York City and San Francisco,” Johnston has always been drawn to the promise and possibility of travel, starting with long drives to get to the closest record stores miles away when he was growing up. His show at The Purple Crayon will be a chance to connect with fans who follow his journey and who will make it a piece of their own.
Freedy Johnston comes to The Purple Crayon in Hastings-on-Hudson on April 13, 2013. Info and tickets are available at www.purplecrayoncenter.org/live.