Action star of stage and screen, Texas music legend, Johnny Falstaff ressurects the ghosts of honky tonk past and conjures the demons of early rock n roll to craft a unique style in the Ameripolitan genre.
The new album from Johnny Falstaff is perhaps more of a confessional memoir than a classic country record. With many a mile on his boots, Falstaff has a deep well to draw from. "Every album I make seems to bring it closer to home" Falstaff maintains, "sometimes home is where the heart is, sometimes not".
The album is Lost in the City Lights, an assemblage that runs the gauntlet between passion and regret. Fashioned around the title track, the songs reverberate with carousing, and resolve with the inevitable consequence. "The city lights have a strong pull, like a moth to the flame", he adds with an experienced nod, "sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you are just gonna burn".
An Alice, Texas native, Falstaff was drenched in Tejano music and the classic country gold of the sixties at a tender age. The young family was on the move searching for a place to set down roots and found themselves in a ramshackle shack in the back forty of a ranch near Elroy, Texas. Falstaff reminisces, "I was about four, my uncle had set me on the back of a horse feeding in the barn, when the horse had it's fill, he broke at full speed with me hanging onto the mane and screaming like a banshee. It was over pretty quick, I landed on my head in a briar patch. That was the beginning and the end of my career as a cowboy". The family landed in Alvin, Texas in 1968 and Falstaff grew up as a child of the seventies, doing the typical seventies things you shouldn't do, and teaching himself to play guitar.
The late eighties found Johnny serving in the US Army stationed in upstate New York, while not known to rest of the world, the country music scene was thriving and vibrant at the time. Keeping up his chops had prepared him well as he answered a call to play guitar in a local country band near Watertown, and the band was soon playing every weekend. Johnny and the singer hit it off well, really well, and in 1990 they married and moved to Nashville chasing the dream. The dream was elusive at the time, Nashville was not in the market for a classic country type act and the label rosters were filling with the next pop stars. The dream finally crumbled in 1992, the couple divorced and Johnny headed back to Texas.
Johnny was in and out of several bands throughout the nineties, and while he was expounding on his skill at guitar playing, he was also developing as a songwriter. In 1991 he recorded his first record, Bad Tonight, produced by Davin James, the record features the musical talents of Hank Williams Jr.'s Bama Band. "To see those guys work in the studio was a real eye opener", Falstaff says, "I was young and thought I was great, but those guys were pros. I was served up a big slice of humble pie and learned some lessons that stick with me to this day".
Seven albums later, Johnny Falstaff hits with his latest release, and Lost in the City Lights launches us full swing into the nightlife with the title track. Dripping with pedal steel played by Tommy Detamore and Kevin Skrla throughout the record, the music and lyrics are perfectly suited for a night in a smokey honky tonk. Retro crooning and a lively vibraphone played by Matthew Keegan charms us on an interstellar love trek on "Stars". "Crash and Burn" features a fiery fiddle by Aaron Till, and takes the listener on a lust quest that we know isn't going to end well. The album concludes with a haunting eulogy that is seeped in melancholy but finalizes bordering on the sanguine. "I wanted to end this record with "Learn Brother Learn", Falstaff laments, "complete sadness with a spark of hope at the end, plus the guitar outro was a great way to finish the record".
In October of 2020, Johnny Falstaff was diagnosed with cancer. After completing chemo and radiation, he is continuing with immunotherapy and is expected to make a full recovery. "When you get the shock of your life, you immediately start to think differently, to prioritize. I've got so many things left to do, and I aint done - not by a long shot".