Freedy Johnston, "Rain on the City"

77 Billboard Rating

Singer/songwriter Freedy Johnston's moment as a critical supernova passed quickly enough during the '90s that probably few have noticed he hasn't released an album of new material since 2001. But his richly written and confidently performed new set, "Rain on the City," is a wake-up call that Johnston indeed left a hole in his recording absence. Fortunately, he makes up for the lost time on these 11 songs. Flitting between Americana sass and Greenwich Village earnestness-with subtle touches of psychedelia ("Lonely Penny"), soul ("The Devil Raises His Own") and bossa nova ("The Kind of Love We're In")-Johnston delivers another album of nuanced and evocative tunes laced with vivid imagery and emotional depth. The song "What You Cannot See, You Cannot Fight" closes the set with a father's devastating address to a son following his mother's death. With tracks like these, let's hope there isn't as long of a pause between Johnston's projects next time.

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