ALBUM REVIEW: Johanna Samuels – Excelsior! | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Basin Rock
Released: 07.05.21






Based on its gestation – recorded in a small, remote cabin in West Shokan, NY State during the dead of winter – you’d be forgiven for expecting a work of icy, Bon Iver-style isolation from LA-based Johanna Samuels’ debut.

Perhaps mercifully, these visions bear scant resemblance to Excelsior’s bright, leisurely songcraft; inspired by classic writers such as Harrison, Petty and Young and lent a certain authenticity through its use of stylish vintage instrumentation. There are no grand themes binding these 10 tracks – nor a whole lot to distinguish Samuels as a unique or novel voice – yet even in today’s saturated landscape, Excelsior! demonstrates how mastery of one’s craft remains more than sufficient for an artist to prosper.


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