This is the latest in a series of spotlights on the bands and artists participating in the 2014 Boston & Beyond party at SXSW, a collaborative effort between Berklee College of Music and Vanyaland. The party is Thursday, March 13 at Brush Square Park (409 East 5th St.) in Austin, runs from noon to 6 p.m., and is free, all-ages, and open to the public. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for entry.
Presumably no relation to the Florida Marlins catcher who was involved in that batshit 1998 trade with the Dodgers for Mike Piazza, this Charles Johnson has been wooing Berklee crowds with the type of versatility the now-retired MLB player never dreamed of (he was a catcher and had bad knees). With ties to Boston, California, and Nashville, the singer-songwriter shows a remarkable range in sound.
Billed as a “folk/rock” artist, Johnson can both rock the fuck out with a post-grunge late-’90s snarl (shown mostly when fronting Redwood DeVille) as well as seduce with a skillfully timed ballad. Galloping atop the music, in any form, is Johnson’s increasingly recognizable voice, which can growl and howl and yearn and churn with the best of them.
Check out “Otherside” off the Berklee Bandcamp compilation; the track is available for free download below…