Jude Johnstone | Blue Light

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Jazz: Jazz-Pop Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Blue Light

by Jude Johnstone

A sensitive, soulful and poetic song collection delivered in Johnstone's passionate voice accompanied by spacious, sophisticated arrangements with a jazz/blues flavor.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz-Pop
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Blue Light
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2:40 album only
2. That's Why I'm Leaving You
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3:13 album only
3. Best Friend
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3:24 album only
4. New York Morning
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3:09 album only
5. Never Been The Same
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4:52 album only
6. Good Guy
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4:33 album only
7. I'll Believe You
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3:26 album only
8. Paper Doll
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4:18 album only
9. Losin' Hand
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3:38 album only
10. Quittin' Time
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3:28 album only
11. Walk Away
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3:45 album only
12. Over and Done
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3:08 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Jude Johnstone’s new release Blue Light on BoJak Records is a rediscovery of a musical style rather than a departure from the flavor of her previous works in critically acclaimed cds “Coming of Age,” and “On a Good Day.” The music of Blue Light possesses the sensitive, soulful and poetic qualities found in the prior discs but returns Johnstone to the musical influences she grew up with in Ellsworth, Maine listening to Sarah Vaughn, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney and Glen Miller from her father’s record collection. “I thought it was just on in the background but, lo and behold, it had crept into my subconscious and my songwriting. After my father’s death in 1987, I noticed that I couldn’t hear Glen Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” without getting all misty-eyed,” said Johnstone.

The genesis for Blue Light, and the revisit to Johnstone’s jazz/blues/torch roots was the passing of legendary engineer/producer Henry Lewy (Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young) in 2006. Johnstone and manager Bob Burton had worked with Lewy in 1983 when they recorded a project at A&M studios. During those sessions the song “Over and Done,” was recorded with Chuck Damonico (Tom Waits) on standup bass and Mark Hatch (Ray Charles, Bette Midler) on trumpet. The song was a highlight from the sessions and when revisiting the recordings after Lewy’s death it became a source of inspiration for Blue Light. The CD includes a bonus track of Lewy’s original recording of “Over and Done,” as a special tribute. Johnstone added, “Henry’s death prompted me to finally put this project together and “come home” as he had beckoned me to do for so long…and this is the result. We did it live in the studio---the old fashioned way—over 3 days, then added the strings.”

Blue Light conveys the emotional depth of Johnstone’s songwriting delivered in her passionate voice supported by sophisticated, spacious arrangements. It was recorded at Mad Dog Studios in Burbank, Ca with musicians Danny Frankel (Rickie Lee Jones, Beck) on drums; David Piltch (K.D. Lang, Madeleine Peyroux) bass; Matt Margucci, trumpet; Marc Macisso, sax, and Freddy Koella (Bob Dylan) on guitar. Recording engineer was Ken Allardyce (Stevie Nicks, Green Day), Charles Duncan mixing engineer and mastering with Gavin Lurssen at Lurssen Mastering. Johnstone was the producer, played keyboards and wrote all the songs except a rare co-write on “Best Friend.”


Reviews


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Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck

"Jude Johnstone Has Recorded a Gem"
Right from the opening title track..her innate ability to tell the story, make it believable and have you feeling the pulse and pure emotion of the words and their meaning is her modus operandi.

Pat Pattison

"It's a perfect gem"
"In case you haven't heard Jude Johnstone's "Good Guy,"(from her CD Blue light), stop everything and give it a listen. It's a perfect gem."
Pat Pattison
Professor, Berklee College of Music
Author, "Writing Better Lyrics"

Artie Traum

"Smart writing and sultry vocals"
Blue Light explores Jude's jazzier side, which covers territory from torch ballads in 1920's Harlem to blues in a bar in Texas. She moves confidently in the world of late-night jazz and blues. Her writing is smart and her sultry vocals complement a perfectly sparse and spot-on band. This is an honest musical ride with surprising depth and personality.

Rodney Crowell

"Intelligently written and sung like tomorrow may be called off"
Jude Johnstone has done it again. This time the girl takes a jazzy stroll through downtown Coolsville. Great songs, intelligently written and sung like tomorrow may be called off.

Midwest Record

"Johnstone hits it out of the park in a grand fashion,a can't miss effort"
The ace songwriter goes deep into her emotional back pages for a personal set of new songs that strays from her pop work in content but not in spirit. You can almost feel the music pouring from her heartstrings as the soulful expression in the music and the singing can’t help but touch you. Sort of a classic singer/songwriter set and part catharsis you are over hearing, Johnstone hits it out of the park in a grand fashion that solid songwriting fans will resonate with. A can’t miss effort throughout

The Celebrity Cafe

"Sensous vocals with sultry instruments"
Blue Light is a soft jazz album certified to calm and relax you all over. Johnstone's sensuous vocals combined with the sultry instruments make for a record filled with slow jams you can turn on when you just want to unwind.

R.S.

Here's a sad song......
I've been a fan of Jude's music since I first heard her perform live several years ago. I'm still a fan because she consistently releases music that connects with me both emotionally and sonically. That happens so rarely with me that I am always anxious to hear what new material Jude has waiting in the wings. Given my love of Jude's songwriting and my ever-growing appreciation for music of the Golden Era, I was extremely "jazzed" to hear that Jude was going to be releasing this CD of self-penned torch and jazz-influenced music. I knew I was in for a treat, and Jude did not disappoint.

Fans of Jude's two previous releases will undoubtedly enjoy this CD as well because of the similarities between it and her previous work. The subject matter and melancholy tone of her earlier lyrics appear again throughout this CD as well as her heavy use of piano and string arrangements. But for all of its similarities to Jude's previous work, this CD has just enough new elements to keep a faithful listener intrigued. These "new" elements are, namely, a "jazzier" and "blusier" tone to the tracks. While these elements are definitely at the forefront of the songs' arrangements, it would be misleading to say that this CD is a full-on jazz CD complete with long, improvised musical solos and scatting. (Anyone expecting to hear those elements will be disappointed--or relieved--depending on one's musical leanings.) Instead, Blue Light is more of a tasteful homage to a musical style that Jude grew up listening to and still greatly reveres.

The lyrics on Blue Light deal with the same topics and emotions that are explored on Jude's previous efforts and are as strong and effective as ever. A line from the stunning track, "Paper Doll," describes the overarching tone and theme of the CD's: "So here's a sad song/ You'll need one after all." While such lyrics pack an obvious melancholy punch, Jude's lyrics never come across as melodramatic. While the majority of the tracks deal with the reckoning of emotional scars left in the wake of romances gone awry, one standout track, the elegant and almost prayerful "New York Morning," seems to be more of a love song to the Empire State. One of the track's best lyrics: "Somebody told me/ That it's all in the stars/And this flesh and bone is/ Really not what we are," is especially poignant in light of the upcoming anniversary of the September 11th attacks on New York.

The CD ends with a "goodbye" trifecta---three songs which chronicle relationships (romantic or otherwise) that have come to an end. "Quittin' Time"--perhaps my personal favorite on this CD--contains some of the most gut-wrenching lyrics to have ever come from Jude's pen: "I knew someday you'd leave/ The moment that you wanted to," and the image-rich, "I knew that love would lose/ That one day you would say goodbye/ And vanish like the sun/ Into a Winter sky." On "Walk Away," Jude sings, "I know you don't love me/ I know you never will," accompanied by a deceptively peppy musical arrangement. Rounding out the trifecta is the bonus track, "Over and Done," which was written and recorded by Jude in 1983 and was the inspiration for the making of this album.

With the 12 tracks on Blue Light, Jude has managed to craft a top-notch CD for true music lovers. There is something on this CD for everyone---new fans and old. While new listeners will have their curiosities piqued to hear Jude's previous recordings, old fans--like myself--will have their curiosities piqued to hear what musical roads Jude will take us down next. I, for one, look forward to

All About Jazz

Excellent Mix of Bluesy and Folksy Jazz
An excellant mix of bluesy and folksy jazz - sort of like Bonnie Raitt with an extra dose of syncopation...Johnstone's writing, as well as her way of revealing a lyric, is filled with a reflective heart. Blue Light is worthy of repeated investigation.