Chuck Johnson :: Balsams / Riga Black


Witness: the greatly-anticipated “ambient pedal steel” album from Chuck Johnson. Due June 2 via VDSQ, Balsams is the follow-up to last year’s Velvet Arc, a record we praised for its “widescreen vision of Americana” and “shimmering electric guitar blending with gorgeous pedal steel and folky fiddles fading into mesmerizing minimalist pulses.” In that vein, if Johnson’s previous lp travels across spacious terrestrial grounds both rough-hewn and freshly paved, then his new endeavor, which Johnson describes as “the most filmic music he’s ever released,” finds the maven floating at a glacial pace across celestial shores. For an early taste, check out the below video for album cut “Riga Black.” Director Zeina Nasr takes a visual cue from David Lynch while Johnson evokes the aural tranquility of Harold Budd’s “Afar.” Prepare to get lost in this one, with no burning rush to find your way home. words / c depasquale