Search - Freedy Johnston :: Can You Fly

Can You Fly
Freedy Johnston
Can You Fly
Genres: Country, Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

"Well I sold the dirt to feed the band," sings Freedy Johnston the opening track, "Trying to Tell You I Don't Know." It turns to be the truth: to finance this album, Freedy, a gifted but struggling songwriter living in N.Y...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Freedy Johnston
Title: Can You Fly
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Bar/None Records
Original Release Date: 4/21/1992
Re-Release Date: 9/25/1992
Genres: Country, Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
Styles: Americana, Singer-Songwriters, Contemporary Folk, Adult Contemporary, Singer-Songwriters, Adult Alternative, Folk Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 032862002427, 032862002410, 032862002441, 5022781202874

"Well I sold the dirt to feed the band," sings Freedy Johnston the opening track, "Trying to Tell You I Don't Know." It turns to be the truth: to finance this album, Freedy, a gifted but struggling songwriter living in N.Y.C., sold the family farm in Kansas he'd inherited from his grandfather. Not many have given that much to their music, and you can hear that fervid and passionate commitment on every song on this wholly fantastic album. While it was a risk worth taking--Can You Fly put Freedy on the musical map--the sense of loss and even betrayal haunts the album. "I left town with a hardcore band/ ...Mother, dear, will you remember me?" he sings on "Remember Me." And on "Sincere" he asks, "Mister, can you tell me where I've come from?" And on "Down in Love," a stunningly beautiful duet with Syd Straw, he sings, "No more dreams for me." This is a man who knows the exact cost of dream. --Tod Nelson

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CD Reviews

Gorgeous melodies and overpowering understatement
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The fact that Spin picked this as one of the top 100 "alternative" albums of all time gives you an idea of the kind of edge that Freedy brings to the often overly precious genre of "singer-songwriter." Freedy's voice expresses a deep, beautiful soul-ache, and his songs capture the ambiguity of profound emotions like, well, like nobody else. In comparison, the run-of-the mill pop songster seems, basically, dishonest. This is an album for someone who is willing to take a handful of listens before settling into its groove. After that, it's in your head forever."
Among the best albums of the nineties...
Jimbob | London, UK | 01/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I found this little gem back in 1993 and was completely stunned by the maturity of the songwriting, the ragged nobility of the voice and the evocative, powerful imagery of the lyrics. This is a MASTERPIECE, one of the few truly great albums of the decade. The catchy Remember Me, California Thing (featured on the Kingpin and Made In America soundtracks...for his sins) and Tearing Down This Place sit perfectly with the poignant ballads The Lucky One, Down In Love and Responsible. Best of all are the classic title track and The Mortician's Daughter, marrying classy songwriting with the best lyrics I've heard in a long time. "I used to love the mortician's daughter We drew our hearts on the dusty coffin lids," he sings, and I cry...again.Outstanding.Particularly recommended to...everyone, but if you like Counting Crows, Wilco, Ron Sexsmith, Matthew Sweet, 10,000 Maniacs et al then it's a must."
His best--so far
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I caught Johnston live in 1991 as the opening act for The Chills and walked away with at least three of these tunes permanently burned into my brain. "Can You Fly" is vivid songwriting at its best. What set this LP apart from efforts by Johnston's folk-rock contemporaries and what set it atop so many of the decade's "best of" lists were its lyrics. After all, lots of songwriters can string together a catchy melody and some chords, but how many can pack an avalanche-sized emotional wallop into the few lines that go along with them? Not many, but Johnston does it on every song here and the best songs (especially "Responsible") are almost overpowering. "The streets are slick with dew and motor oil/A girl walks in and out of the morning sun/A barred window reflects the cloudless sky/No blue reaches those eyes" sings Johnston in a voice like a half-strangled plea, backed by the most sympathetic and punchy folk rock arrangements since the heyday of Simon and Garfunkel. This is one of the best releases by anybody anywhere anytime. Johnston, not for a lack of trying, hasn't reached these heights since (though "This Perfect World" came close), but this is achievement enough for one lifetime."