• Bryon Harris

John Thompson - Debut EP

From the Bay Area of the Golden State of California, John Thompson has released his self-titled debut EP with five original songs in the vein of David Bowe, Neil Young and The Who plus a lot of...John Thompson, who is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, keyboards), singer and songwriter whose soul "rises and shines" on this debut EP. He is joined by Dennis Galways on percussion and Maya Hall on background vocals.

The five song EP commences with the “Rise and Shine.” John has an intense connection to melody that is immediately heard. The song's melodic lines flow perfectly with the lyrics. This deep connection to lyrical phrasing can also be heard in Johh’s guitar solos that sound like they are singing to the songs throughout the EP. The arrangement to "Rise and Shine" is dense with grungy guitars and keyboards. The song is about falling into a dark place where emotions are amplified. These feelings are comforted by a good friend who comes over to console. "Rise and Shine" is a go-to song for those days when you need a good friend in a song to pull you out of a dark state and remind you that you're okay.

“Fish Out Of Water” is up next. It commences with low-key acoustic strumming in 6/8 time for a nice change-up. John sings, “We’re not in Kansas anymore", a foreshadowing of the emotion to come. The drums and texture pickup as the song grows bolder heading towards the bridge, “Trying hard to rearrange the thoughts inside my brain.” The thematic material revolves around feeling lost or in a chaotic state. The song builds intensely to an all-out guitar solo jam that cuts like a knife through the mix.

“London” tells a story about riding a train and reminiscing about the past in images that feel like a dream-state. The lyrics talk about not having regrets and moving forward. Here, as in “Fish Out of Water”, John shows that he has a full vocal range that he uses with ease on the high notes. John’s songs speak like a page from a journal with up-front raw honesty.

“Time to To Wake Up” follows with a guitar that sounds like a muddy clock ticking and quickly moves into an introspective rock ballad. “I think it’s time to wake up to you…how much I admire you... You inspire me to hear my own truth.” John vocally captures the vulnerability of the lyrics. In a sense, “Time to Wake up” is a love letter and John wears it musically on his sleeve. The guitar solo cries along.

“Golden Gate” ends the EP with a classic rock vibe reminiscent of The Who. The song’s lyrics are about a premonition and ultimately finding your way through a storm. This track ends with a big guitar siren solo that launches and flies away leaving you high.

John Thompson’s new EP captures the stuff under the surface: darkness, fear, confusion, chaos, friendship, love, and self-awareness without apology to yield an emotionally authentic collection of songs with densely textured rock arrangements that support soulful singing and guitar playing.

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