Back in January, Eric D. Johnson, best known for his work in Fruit Bats decided to sit down and write an album’s worth of songs over the course of a few weeks. Of course, until then, it was something he hadn’t done before. With material written during an unseasonably cold Portland winter, Boonville, California (the heart of Calfironia wine and weed country) and Joshua Tree, the album is a decided change of sonic and lyrical direction for Johnson — the material is reportedly much more emotionally ambiguous and the lyrics are inspired by Johnson’s own thoughts and experiences. In fact, in the press notes for the first single “Lose It All, All The Time,” Johnson admits that the songs are inspired by loss, disappointment, retreat but of perseverance — in particular, the first single is about the attempt to rebuild one’s life. The album’s second single “A West County Girl” has a nostalgic melancholy and breezy as it talks about losing the love of a country gal from West County and the attempt to rebuild one’s life after the end of a long-term relationship. And yet, in some way, it bears a resemblance to Nick Drake, if he had lived today and gotten into electronic production.
But pay attention to the lyrics, which have a novelist’s attention to detail as it reveals a profoundly empathetic psychological portrait and are quite evocative.