If destiny wasn’t calling Johnston, something was. So he packed up his things and headed east to New York City, pawning his favorite guitar to pay for the trip. He hoped to send money home to buy the guitar back. It sold before he got the cash together.
That there’s a bittersweet irony to this story isn’t lost on Johnston. It shows up again and again in his music. From his rough-and-tumble debut, The Trouble Tree, to his most recent album, the sublime Rain On The City, Johnston returns to themes of loss, tough luck, and bad timing. Johnston’s songs are often praised for their literary quality – and deservedly so – but they also hit you on a gut level.
Johnston is currently working on his next album, tentatively titled Neon Repairman. In an age where the Internet has greatly diminished the power of radio to dictate artistic success, Johnston is poised for perhaps the most exciting stage of his career. At this point, though, it isn’t about destiny. Johnston fulfilled that a long time ago. Now, it’s about joy – both for Johnston and his fans.