Track Premiere: Nels Johnson “American Dream”

Photo: Bryan Appel

Portland-based singer-songwriter, Nels Johnson, is releasing the single ‘American Dream’ on Sept 13th, but Americana UK is offering a chance to hear it early.   The song is taken from the album, ‘Ios,’  which Johnson is releasing on October 14th. ‘American Dream‘ takes a look at the underbelly of that concept – the reviled and unprotected immigrant labour force that ends up working outside of the system for little money and with no rights.  It is, says Johnson, the main focus for the record: “The song is an ode to the parents of many of the kids I grew up with, the ones who sacrificed everything for the chance that their kids could have a better life and have opportunities that they the parents never had. It’s a song about the hardship and hope of being an immigrant in America.

Nels Johnson has had a strange path into a musical career – he rebelled against his early Evangelical upbringing which offered only approved Christian music by learning guitar and joining punk bands.  After several years of that he decided to conform, get an education and become a lawyer – something that he would eventually come to see as soul-destroying. So in 2016 he returned to music, re-embraced his creativity and pursued his new direction to fulfilment and happiness.  A form one could argue of The American Dream, ironically enough.


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About Jonathan Aird 2043 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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