Album Premiere: Will Johnson, Swan City Vampires


Videos by American Songwriter

Rock and roll had an awful day last September when it learned that Centro-matic would no longer perform following its 2014 tour. For nearly two decades, this workmanlike band from Denton, Texas churned out fuzz-laden Crazy Horse-style rock, set to some of the most cryptic lyrics this side of Ezra Pound. They were a band’s band, to be sure, with artists like Justin Townes Earle citing them as a personal favorite. 

Lucky for us, there is life after death. Frontman Will Johnson is continuing to write songs (and paint), and his fourth solo album Swan City Vampires, out September 25, is presented here in full for streaming. Recorded over two separate sessions, the album is not a far stretch from his work with Centro-matic, and even features an elegy for his late band “(Made Us Feel Like) Kings” as well as a tribute to his recently departed mother (“The Watchman”).

“When the record was coming together, I was dealing with loss and a lot of uncertainty,” Johnson said. “It was a strange time, emotionally. I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted the album to transmit. There was a lot of raw emotion flying around. For the first time, I didn’t have some sort of grand picture or plan for the whole record. I wanted to get as much down as I could and figure it out later.”

Stream the album below (you can pre-order it here), and check out Johnson’s tour dates for the fall (buy tickets here).

Aug 29
Living Room Show
New Orleans, LA

Sep 02
Living Room Show
Dallas, TX

Sep 03
Living Room Show
Fort Worth, TX

Sep 26
Oaktopia Fest
Denton, TX

Sep 28
Living Room Show
Colorado Springs, CO

Sep 29
Living Room Show
Denver, CO

Sep 30
Living Room Show
Cheyenne, WY

Oct 01
Living Room Show – Ft Collins CO
Fort Collins, CO

Oct 03
Living Room Show – Boise ID
Boise, ID

Oct 04
Living Room Show
Seattle, WA

Oct 05
Living Room Show
Portland, OR

Oct 06
Living Room Show
Eugene, OR

Oct 07
Living Room Show
Reno, NV

Oct 08
Living Room Show
Sacramento, CA

Oct 09
Living Room Show
San Francisco, CA

Oct 10
Living Room Show
Petaluma, CA

Oct 11
Living Room Show
Los Angeles, CA

Oct 13
Living Room Show
Las Vegas, NV

Oct 15
Living Room Show
Phoenix, AZ

Oct 16
Living Room Show
Albuquerque, NM

Oct 18
Living Room Show
Austin, TX

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