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.
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.”
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Alain Johannes “Free”, the second single from the July 31st release, Hum. Pre-order now at https://lnkfi.re/AJHum All of these pieces are mine Mine Do I see their design Implied I’ll let ‘em carry me Far away on the desert wind And if I lose myself Will I find that I’m truly free All of these haunted days belie Holding ‘em tight as they wane Why? I turn and walk away And I follow the desert wind And if I lose myself Do I find that I’m truly free I turn and walk away And I follow the desert wind So I lose myself As I find that I’m truly free @alainjohannes @alainjohannestour @ipecacrecordings
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!).