Paul Johnson from Canyon City speaks with Brian Peel in a special JOY 94.9 interview all the way in Nashville.
From his humble early beginnings in the music industry at college to drawing from the inspiration of global musical icons Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and Neil Young to embarking on his solo writing and independent music career, Canyon City’s music will move you.
Canyon City has great plans for the future, this is one artist to keep your eye on.
The new EP Smoke and Ash is out now and available on iTunes.
theaussieword.com speaks with Paul from Nashville’s Canyon City.
Tell us how it all started. What had you first interested in music? My parents were in a folk trio together when they were in college, so for my sister and I music was always very encouraged and accessible as we were growing up. We used to practice harmonizing together and once I could fit my hand around a guitar neck I started learning to play. I took lessons from the pastor at our local church in Fargo, North Dakota, through most of my childhood, then started playing in bands in middle & high school, eventually catching the songwriting bug around 15. Looking back I was incredibly lucky to inherit influences like Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Tom Petty & other great folk/rock artists from my family early on.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? This is something I think about a lot. I used to be very “impression based”, in that I wanted to make music that somehow brought people a moment of presence or communicated a valuable moral or idea. I guess I wanted to make sure that what I was doing was meaningful. The issue was you could hear the weight of that consciousness; listening back I could tell that I was saying what I thought was “good” to say instead of what I was really going though. It felt kind of surface level. A turning point was when I sincerely thought I was maybe working on my last “professional” record and just decided to just let go and play whatever I genuinely connected with and enjoyed creating. All of a sudden these stories started falling out, I started learning things I didn’t know before they came out as lyrics and saying what I otherwise couldn’t. In that I re-discovered why I loved this in the first place.
For me spirituality plays a very central roll, and just finding and recognizing the beauty in honest, imperfect life reminds me that the cracks are part of the art, of both the song and the person. Then when other people can hear that and say “me too”, if feels like there’s somewhat of a healing in that. Basically these days I just set out to enjoy the creative process itself, and try to let the rest be a side-effect. Continue reading Special Interview: Canyon City