There is the old adage — “it’s the singer not the song.” With Johnny High-Hat’s new recording, Heart of a Clown, it’s both the singer and the song! From the musical barrooms of Nashville to the hallowed stage of the Berliner Ensemble, High-Hat’s (stage name of John Highkin) diverse experiences are borne out in the song selection of his debut recording.
High-Hat tackles everything from well-known standards (“Pennies from Heaven,” “Route 66,” and “September Song”), vintage country (“Rockin’, Rollin’ Ocean,” “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such As I”) and lesser known gems (“It Must Be Love” and “A Thousand Goodnights”) to present a cohesive set of songs that address hunger, longing, and sadness, change and affirmation.
Far from being a rote recreation or postmodern pastiche, High-Hat — with the help of cracker-jack producers/ arrangers/ accompanists Mark Danisovszky and Steve Jirak — has given the songs of Heart of a Clown compelling, contemporary arrangements and a timeless tone that insures his debut won’t be pigeonholed as a backward looking genre exercise. Heart of a Clown also features the talents of the nationally acclaimed roots band The Wiyos on four tracks—adding further musical depth and character.
As you listen to High-Hat’s recording debut, let the songs settle in and move your spirit—you’ll be singing and humming along while you enjoy the ride.