Canyon City Reflects On Change & Love With New Song, “Irises”

Change ebbs and flows as the waves upon the sea. A thunderstorm inevitably crashes the calm, but everything passes in time. Singer-songwriter Paul Johnson, known professionally as Canyon City, endured “a whirlwind season of life,” as he put it, and emerged with a new song called “Irises,” premiering today on American Songwriter.

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It’s an acoustic-constructed ballad, a lullaby with a gentle elegance. In reflecting upon life’s swift changes – which included marriage and leaving a 10-year Nashville residence behind – Johnson uncovered the bliss of true love. “There is no other love for me like you,” he sings. His words fall as particles of dust in the morning’s early light.

“In the midst of all that swirling change, the dust started to settle, and I had the opportunity to sit down with my guitar and start to prod where I was at,” he said. In the dead of winter, Brooklyn became a temporary home and permitted a necessary reprieve.

“[My wife and I] embraced the period of time we had in New York as an opportunity to uproot a bit and lean into something entirely new – an opportunity to get to know each other deeper while somewhat isolated from our comfort environments,” he continued. “There was a feeling that we were out on this island, and the journey ahead was uncharted waters, but that there was a really exciting adventure in that.”

Under four minutes, “Irises” appears to fill the entire expanse of both time and space. “Hear me out / Did you know that snowflake’s designed like none / Other and your irises’ lines are spun / Alone in yellow color,” he sings.

“Irises” is the latest in a string of singles this year. In the aftermath of his third album, Bluebird, Johnson witnessed his creativity drastically shift. “Feeling like that trilogy [of albums] was complete, I wanted to try a new way of creating and sharing as I move forward,” he said. “The singles approach gives me a little more well-rounded day-to-day creative process in that I’m simultaneously tinkering with writing, production and sharing with the audience as opposed to may past routine of taking six months to write, six months to record and then a few months to refresh and restart.”

Furthermore, he has found the new routine to be quite “mentally refreshing,” too. “It’s a bit more of a real-time evolution of the artist in doses that play out like an ongoing conversation. I think in the interest of giving each song it’s time in the sun, as well as building a relationship with the audience, a season of singles can be a really creative and engaging way to go.”

Long-standing collaborators, producer Zachary Kuykendall and mixing engineer Joe Causey (of Voyager Mastering), return to give “Irises” a crucial, texturized boost. “Writing is usually a meditative practice in solitude at first, then once I have the meat and bones of the song I’ll record a few of the acoustic instruments as well as some light production elements,” said Johnson

Listen to “Irises” below.

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