Painting Stories 'Cross the Sky

Crow Johnson
Zassafras Records

WVA Occasional 7/94

Crow Johnson, painting stories 'cross the sky (Zassafras Music, Gravette, Arkansas, pre-CD 5-song release) Crow dedicates this cassette to the Occasional's previous reviewer, Eva Sands: "This one's for Eva Sands, who re-defined courage and grace... with laughing eyes."

Crow Johnson's country sound predominates this five-song pre-CD teaser. The songs, written by Crow, are not exactly standard country themes, though. "Cowboy Town" is about a gal rediscovering her options as she puts on her tight jeans and sashays out to the dance floors. She finds it in herself to say, "thanks but no" as she learns what a woman's got to learn. The essence of the song is in the line when she learns that the "measure of her beauty's not the heads that she can turn."

My favorite in this quintet is "The Goose and the Gander," a song celebrating a senior-citizen couple still in love, sparkling with the joy of their togetherness as they dance the night away. They are, the song tells us, as ancient as can be," but when the fiddle tune transforms them, there is "no spangled jacket, no starry sky could ever glitter half as bright as the look in that old couple's eyes."

One of the tough jobs of life is addressed in "Holdin' Down the Couch." As Crow puts it, "somebody's gotta do it." And so there she is, anchored securely, lots to eat, blanket on her feet, "standing her ground, holding this big old couch down." It's a feeling everyone has from time to time.

"Fly Away Sweet Misery" calls on the blues to fly away. Even when there is a blue bird of happiness, "misery visits that nest" and so this song invites the personified Misery to go, to make a break and fly away.

This sampler of Crow Johnson's writing and performing talent definitely makes you want more. I recommend this one for a good look at life as it is. Crow Johnson, Zassafras Music, Box 1000, Gravette, Arkansas 72738

In the Walnut Valley Festival list of artists: