Album Review: "When You Come Home" from Johnnie Gilmore

A fantastic lockdown album from the one and only Johnnie Gilmore

Tom Moorcroft
1st December 2020
Many eager fans of The Courier will know that a few months ago, when I reviewed and interviewed ‘The Q-Tip Bandits’ that we spoke about the Boston music scene. In Leo Son’s words: “The Boston music scene, to me, feels like a small pond with big fish”.

Well, I’ve found one of those big fish he has on about

Johnnie Gilmore, an avid bass player since the age of 15, has revolutionised what many may consider a ‘background instrument’ and placed it right in the spotlight. A Bostonite who moved to L.A in 2018, Johnnie had hoped to flip perception on a rather dull isolation period this year, and aimed to personify the freedom of the outside world in his latest EP: When You Come Home. The cover art alone shows us Johnnie’s escapism at heart, hoping to take his listeners away from their four-walled rooms into the wilderness. 

Source: Dave Kopperman via Johnnie Gilmore

He’s spread his powerful bass playing all across the nation, from the House Of Blues in Anaheim to Club Groove in New York. Now, he’s hoping to send some love over to the people of Newcastle across the pond.

When checking out his new EP, one of the main things that struck me was this natural and raw sound that he explored. All those perfect imperfections; the sliding of his hand up and down the neck, the slight fret buzz and human instincts which come across in that opening track ‘Vineyard Roads’. It was a really lovely and vibrant sound that I was happy to hear, and with it’s Folk-blues inspirations it wouldn’t go amiss on a Fleet Foxes album. It was such a pure introduction to how he’s working to revolutionize the bass guitar. Who needs a voice when those four strings do all the talking?

Who needs a voice when those four strings do all the talking?

A similar vibe can be attached to another of his songs ‘Wishing Well’, with it’s pinch harmonics and raw sound being another example of his innovation. It made me feel the same serenity as sailing down a Spanish riviera, with this being the ideal soundtrack for day-dreamers and those who desire to explore the wide wide world.

However, it’s clear to see that the pride and joy of this album comes in the form of that 3:08 title track: ‘When You Come Home’. It’s suggested that the opportunity to branch our and explore this solo endeavour was something of an ‘artistic lifeline’ for the bassist, and it’s safe to say that he’s proven to the world that all he needs is a bass and his vision.

This last track makes it clear to me how much of a gift he has in telling a story without saying a single world. The many different genres, the bends and twist that his audience get to discover with our first listen, is truly a gift in such dire times as these. There’s something of an improvised solidarity to his music, like he has an idea on where he wants to go, but he’s not quite sure how he’s going to get there. This track, as well as the rest of the EP and his future work, will explore the many different ways him and his bass will get from A to B, and I can’t wait to hear them.

To check out what Johnnie had to say on his influences, how he’s dealt with COVID and possibilities on flying over to Newcastle, be sure to check out our interview here!

Featured Image: YouTube 'Johnnie Gilmore'
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AUTHOR: Tom Moorcroft
Head of Sport for The Courier. Current 3rd year English Literature and History student. Love writing about sports/music, playing the guitar and Everton FC!

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