An intimate, minimalist collection of reflective songs.
Canyon City is the moniker used by the multi-instrumentalist and producer, Paul Johnson. The six track ‘Matinée’ EP follows Johnson’s 2019 album ‘Bluebird’ and the ‘Circling The Sun’ EP released in 2020. The songs on ‘Matinée’ were written during the isolation of the pandemic, which coincided with Johnson and his wife uprooting from Tennessee to Fort Collins in Colorado, just prior to the first lockdown. The tracks were recorded in a revamped studio in Johnson’s new home.
The songs are reflective and the arrangements minimalist, featuring mainly acoustic guitar and keyboards. However, at the same time there’s also a cinematic quality to them, evoking the shivering sands of memories of trips to foreign places with his wife, in ‘Paris’, precious moments from the past and bygone relationships.
The first song on the EP, ‘Changes’, conjures images of someone sitting alone in a cinema for a matinée performance pondering life, the changes it brings, as well as the constants. These are summed up in the chorus: “By perish or by progress there’ll be changes, This I promise, Don’t be sacred if no one walks with all your changes, You’ll be constant in my love”.
‘Comets’ beautifully describes the struggles that we all face in the form of the recurring figurative shadows that hang over our lives, which although they may disappear briefly, always come back to haunt us. The chorus portrays a feeling of being out of step with the world and the need to reach out to others when we’re in dark places: “But you could help to steady ’til, I can pick myself up from my knees, By standin’ still as the world tilts”.
As we grow older, memories flicker and become distorted. To quote L.P. Hartley’s aphorism, which forms the first line of his book ‘The Go Between’, “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there”. As Johnson alludes to in the songs on ‘Matinée’, being human means that our reminiscences are filtered via the lens of our own experience, which brings with it, its own sweetness and sometimes sadness.