Robb Johnson is widely recognised as one of the UK’s finest songwriters.
“An English original”, (Robin Denselow, the Guardian) … “one of our best singer-songwriters ever” (Mike Harding)… “Robb Johnson keeps folk music relevant & thought-provoking” (The Living Tradition).
His songs are covered by many singers, from folk legend Roy Bailey & cabaret diva Barb Jungr, to floor singers & folk club regulars. & Robb’s song suite Gentle Men, his family history of the First World War, is a particular career highlight – “a wonderful mixture of the political and personal…A really moving piece of work” (Billy Bragg), “a folk classic” (The Guardian). The November 2015 release of a live song & spoken word recording of Gentle Men – A Solo Performance, was described as “Intense, engaging & very moving” (fROOTS).
In 2016, PM Press in the US released A Reasonable History of Impossible Demands, a 5 CD career-to-date box set to unanimous critical acclaim –
“packed full of well-crafted songs…a magnificent retrospective” (R2), “one of this country’s most important songwriters (no argument!)…a powerfully literate emotional sensitivity at work…this is one real essential purchase” (fROOTS), “He can be lyrical, he can explore the personal & emotional just as effectively as he can propagandise… his body of work can stand alongside anyone’s” (The Living Tradition).
Now, a new album of thirteen songs, My Best Regards, is out right now. It features pianist Jenny Carr & bassist John Forrester, who worked together on 2013’s recording of Gentle Men, & Robb’s son Arvin on drums & percussion. The songs cover a wide spectrum of subjects; from the personal to the political, & the shared points in between, from birthdays to migrations, from late night bus stops to the Sidmouth promenade, from Babbacombe Model Village to Franz Kafka & Prague, & involve among others new babies in Hollingdean, MP’s 10% pay rises, & Turkish red wine & charity shops in Broadstairs.
The album also contains different versions of 3 of the songs – 2 recorded with Brighton’s Hullabaloo Quire, & one song, ‘When the Tide Comes In’, recorded with the Palestinian singer Reem Kelani. Robb says: “It is always difficult to be objective about a new album, but I think this one may well turn out to be particularly good.”
Robb will be touring the UK in October to celebrate the release of this album. At the end of the month he will be playing some gigs in Belgium, and there are plans for more international tours in 2017.
Artist’s website: www.robbjohnson.co.uk
‘The Night Café’ live in the studio with the My Best Regards band: