Johnsons Motorcar | Funky Disco Hardcore

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Rock: Celtic Rock World: Celtic Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Funky Disco Hardcore

by Johnsons Motorcar

An upbeat collection of rocking Celtic Fusion party music
Genre: Rock: Celtic Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Rocky Road to Dublin
2:39 album only
clip
2. Redcrow/Tamlins/Gravelwalk (Funky Disco Hardcore MIX)
4:42 album only
clip
3. 27 years
3:14 album only
clip
4. The Masons Apron/The Musical Priest
3:03 album only
clip
5. Botany Bay
4:07 album only
clip
6. The Star of the County Down feat. N'Dea Davenport
3:36 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The band’s name is a tip o’ the hat to a treasure from the “Irish Rebel” repertoire. (The
song, “Johnston’s Motor Car,” is a 1920s legend, relaying the probable IRA carjacking of
an unsuspecting physician. The folk classic was revised by the iconic Clancy Brothers -
- who all but introduced traditional Irish music to the U.S. -- and updated by such bands
as The Dubliners.) The bold story (“But how are we to reach Dungloe without a Motor
Car?”) resembles a force that has driven JOHNSONS MOTORCAR to this very day:
Determination and synchronicity define the exciting journey, “Irish Style.”

Founded several years ago by vocalist, violinist and multi-instrumentalist Martin Johnson,
JOHNSONS MOTORCAR (JMC) “had been through about fifteen members, prior to
accepting the likes of meself,” according to Blacko Muiri (guitars, backing vocals, whistles),

who handles much of the group’s affairs, with bandmate Johnson. Blacko continues the
band’s history: “The two of us started busking, and would regularly sell 60-80 CDs in a
couple of hours. It was during this time we met ‘Beanie’ (Rinamame), an awesome musician
on drums and percussion. Her business card also identified Beanie’s interest in reiki and
aromatherapy healings, which we found both creative and cool.” The now-trio continued to
busk, selling a rather astonishing 11,000 copies of three mini CDs, over a couple of years.

JMC solidified in Tokyo, with the ‘09 addition of Katsuya (keyboards, vocoder – also an ace
on bass), and Keitaimo’s first JMC gig, as bassist (also a keyboards phenom), during this
year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration, JMC’s wildly popular “Mother of All Paddys Night” (to
become an annual event).

“We are strengthened by a crew of players, each of whom bring loyalty to his or her
preferred music, plus taste and good will. Serious fusion is the JMC language,” Blacko
explains. Katsuya is all about hip hop; Keitaimo, the jazz connoisseur; Beanie, fearless in any
genre; Martin, the shining, key instrumentalist; and “you can call me a sucker for a good pop
mix,” adds the adventurous Blacko.

Johnson happens to be a Florida native who traveled the world with a klezmer-based family
band. Muiri, from Dublin, moved to Tokyo several years ago, evolving as rowdy singer,
guitarist, actor and sound designer. “It was our mutual interest in Irish music that joined
Martin and me (via an introductory email from a mutual friend) -- That we met in Tokyo
(where Johnson had also re-located) is typical of the freakish synchronicity that puts this
puzzle together,” Muiri concludes.

Clearly, JMC are all about global music that matters. But, they are about something else,
as well: celebration. Not a JMC performance exists in which the audience (from toddlers
to grandparents) are seated or the band aren’t dancing. In honoring the imperative
Irish-cultural music of yore, JMC manages to evoke joy and passion in real time, for all
concerned. To celebrate is a tradition taken very seriously by these inspired musicians and
their “peeps,” evidenced on numerous videos.

Propelling the party is Celtic fusion -- the genre known to emigrate to, then emanate
(chiefly) from the American south, blending Irish, Scottish and African American influences
with country, blues and rock. Aside: In the words of Elvis Costello: "I started with
rock ‘n roll...to take it apart like a child with a toy, and you see there's blues and there's
country...Then you go back from country into American music...and you end up in Scotland
and Ireland eventually." JOHNSONS MOTORCAR join the celebrated roster of Celtic
rockers and fusionists, from Flogging Molly, to Sinead O’Connor, to U2, to Celtic-punk
forerunners, The Pogues.

FUNKY DISCO HARDCORE appropriately kicks off with a song about a journey. “Rocky
Road to Dublin” (traditional, arranged by JMC), is a showcase for Johnson’s authentically-
ethnic tonality, and the delivery of wildly urgent lyrics: “The boys of Liverpool, When
we had safely landed, Called meself a fool, I could no longer stand it, Blood began to boil,

Temper I was losin,’ Poor old Erin's Isle, They began abusin’...” Driven by Beanie’s drumming
ascendancy and Johnson’s flying fiddle, the song demands nothing short of furious footwork
from its witness.

To feel what that “FUNKY DISCO HARDCORE mix” -- JMC’s signature -- is all about, lend
an ear to “Redcrow/ Tamlins/ Gravelwalk” (traditional, arranged by JMC), an intensely
structured instrumental, delivering the incredible depth of JMC’s musicality. This is where
the band lights up as a compelling and cohesive unit.

“27 Years” (lyrics by Johnson, music by Johnson and Muiri), introduces pop, country, and
a rhythm section that works it. Its lyrics introduce Johnson’s creative force, adhering as
they do, to time-honored form, translated to the blues-laden culture of today: “Living in
your mother's house, For better lack of hope, Got your buyers in your pocket, And you're
living on the ropes! Saving your integrity, From living in a lie, False intentions atrophy,
Bringing bitter clarity…” The only track written by Johnson leads one to clamor for more on
the next CD.

If you’re after a psychedelically tinged, romantic mode, check out “The Masons Apron/ The
Musical Priest” (traditional, arranged by JMC). But, hold up; just as Katsuya’s spiritual,
ambient keys join Muiri’s romantically-rhythmic guitar, JMC does a typically spry mood
switch; with Muiri’s lashing and polished guitar joining Johnson’s violin delight, Keitaimo’s
righteous bass and Beanie’s high-hat flair.

The original, “Botany Bay” (traditional, arranged by JMC), is a skillful story, in tribal-homage
genre: “Farewell to your bricks and your mortars, Farewell to your dirty lies, Farewell to
your gangways and your gangplanks, And the hell with your overtime, For the good ship
Ragamuffin, She lies waiting at the kay, For to take old Pat with a shovel on his back, To the
shores of Botany Bay…” (In truth, though related to the tale’s travels, Botany Bay borders
the Sydney, Australia Airport.) Yes, not only does the JMC repertoire step out of Irish
boundaries, it also engages in stunning balladry… at least until that dancing mood-swing, once
again, kicks in with sweeping abandon.

Rounding out a stellar recording is “The Star of the County Down,” (traditional, arranged by
JMC et al), featuring the vocals of N’Dea Davenport, a perfect match for Johnson. Lead
guitar riffs punctuate the production. Crossing those various “Celtic genres,” the track
promises a welcoming audience at Americana and Freeform radio.

The members of JOHNSONS MOTORCAR are active in all aspects of performing and visual
arts. Muiri recently served as Sound Designer for the iconic Tokyo International Players’
production of Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, based on the cosmic-
horror works of infamous H.P. Lovecraft. And, each band member contributes to JMC’s art
direction, with Beanie often at the helm. Their concert posters are “keepers.”

To break it down… America should consider itself cordially invited to the mother of all
global celebrations, FUNKY DISCO HARDCORE, hosted by JOHNSONS MOTORCAR, Irish Style.

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Reviews


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N W Johnson

Hard-drivin' Cletic Music
I've known the members of Johnson's Motor Car since the bands beginnings and have watched their development with interest. From their earliest trad offerings it was apparent to me that this was not just another Irish band but a group of good musicians searching for their voice. With "Funky Hardcore Disco" they have found it.
Built around the pyrotechnic fiddle of Martin, and abetted by Brian's Guitar and Reena's inspired drums, this band takes traditional Irish tunes and presents them in a manner all it's own.
You've never heard Trad done like this. I've already committed the tunes on this CD to memory and I can't wait to hear their next one.
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