Listen: Alain Johannes Is “Free” To Wander With Contemplative Track

Alain Johannes' third album "Hum" comes out in July and his new single "Fee" offers up a contemplative side of the multi-talented musician.

Alain Johannes’ third solo album Hum comes out July 31, and one reason why I’ll be checking out this effort lies in his latest single “Free.” Johannes’ nature driven video, featuring landscapes of places my hermit self will never traverse, is definitely eye catching. Plus, the song makes one question the nature of one’s own sense of freedom.
Alain Johannes. (Photo Credit: Tom Bronowski)

With a body of work that includes the rock band Eleven (which included late wife Natasha Shneider and drummer Jack Irons), collaborations with Chris Cornell, Queens of the Stone Age and PJ Harvey, Alain Johannes’ music career has been, to say the least, diverse. As Generation X member, the multi-layered rock of Eleven, exemplified in many tracks (including “Coming Down”) never disappoints:

Now in his 50s, Alain Johannes is in a highly contemplative state, and hearing “Free” will draw the obvious comparisions to Nick Drake, but that surface analysis aside, the song offers the musician wondering if all this wandering is worth it: “And I follow the desert wind/And if I lose myself/Do I find that I’m truly free.”

There is a raw vulnerabilty behind straight ahead and honest lyrics paired with the humble strumming of a guitar, and it’s a song that one would assume is close to Johannes’ heart: “‘Free’ appeared on my cigarbox guitar as I was holding it while imagning openly lonely beauty, desert landscapes, a wanderer following the wind. It comes from a desire to let go of where I’ve been. Honoring it but not burdened by it. Making my steps into the unknown lighter.”

The first single “Hum” is currently available on CD/LP. Both “Free” and “Hum” are also available for folks who pre-order the album (which was among the 20 Underground Rock Albums to still look forward to by Kerrang!).

Hum, which features 10 songs and is Johannes’ third solo work, comes out July 31.