Duquette Johnston “Social Animals”

Single Lock Records, 2022

An optimistic return to the fray for Duquette Johnston after a ten year absence.

Artwork for Duquette Johnston album "Social Animals"Duquette Johnston has faced a number of adversities in his life from emotional, financial and spiritual perspectives. These led Johnston to take “a radical break from the old way of living and looking at life” and to return to his home town of Birmingham, Alabama where he and his wife run Club Duquette, a shop-cum-art gallery-cum-community centre, which offers an electric range of products from locally designed apparel to organic chocolate.  It could be that Johnston’s renewed focus on his home town community is the reason that led to his new record commencing on a hopeful note, with the single ‘A Year To Run’, which has Johnston singing ‘I was holding on for one more year to run, So I started closing eyes and seeing sun’. There are hints of Neil Young era ‘On The Beach’, as well as Buffalo Tom and Bob Mould’s ‘Sugar‘ on this album, with spiralling guitars and reverberating drums which wrap around Johnston’s voice. This record has Johnston rejecting the myth that artists have to suffer to create great art, with him stating “that is a freaking lie the world will tell you”. The song ‘Mystics’ affirms that Johnston is in a much better place than he was in his younger days and puts his wife and son at the centre of this: ‘We are family ,it’s true, it’s all I need, it’s all I want with you’.

Although Johnston completed this record in 2017, he says that “I don’t think it was supposed to come out back then. I don’t think the meaning behind some of the songs mattered as much as they do now”. By way of an example he cites the final song, ‘Tonight‘, saying that: “The chorus was like a chant I wanted to scream at the world, ‘Tonight, tonight, tonight, It’s gonna be all right‘. We need to come together, we need to have love for each other”. Hopefully Johnston’s right and that if we keep our hearts in the right place, we can change things for the better.


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