April 17, 2013

the next Fuel/Friends house concert: Will Johnson (of Centro-matic)!


My next Fuel/Friends house concert is one week from today!

On Wednesday night, April 24, Will Johnson is finally coming to play after a long time planning. Will is a Texan songwriter who fronts Centro-matic and South San Gabriel, making smoldering, understated music for the last twenty years. He’s also collaborated on some of my favorite side projects in recent years: with Jim James and Jay Farrar on that tremendous Woody Guthrie album New Multitudes last year, as a part of Monsters of Folk (with Conor Oberst, Jim James, and M. Ward), and on the smoky duo album with Jason Molina (of Magnolia Electric Company, who recently passed away).

There is something in Will’s honest voice and way of phrasing that makes me persistently uncomfortable (in a way I very much like); it’s a red-hot ember held real close to the skin. I’m so looking forward to an evening of just close listening to him and his guitar.

I have been completely riveted by Will’s music ever since I first saw this song that my friend Dainon recorded years ago in the radio station studios where he worked:

And we tried innocence and we tried formaldehyde / in the end you were left with the string and I, the kite” — ooof. That’s still one of the most powerful songs I’ve personally ever heard about a marriage ending.

I, The Kite (live on KRCL) – Will Johnson

Last year, his record Scorpion was this sun-scorched, potent slow-burner of densely woven wonder, and I think I listened to the track “You Will Be Here, Mine” on repeat for months. It is so full of wonderful hesitancies and fumbling that make it even sweeter when everything finally hits its stride in that song.


1. He just announced a collaborative project with (Fuel/Friends two-time house show alum) David Bazan, called Overseas:

2. Will loves baseball (a man after my own heart) and makes acclaimed paintings about it. Wonderful.

Do it now, as other cities (see below) have sold out!



  • Oh Heather, you and all those present are in for such a treat. When living in Brighton, UK, I promoted several South San Gabriel shows as well as one Centro-matic gig and a solo performance from Will. He is awesome live, and one of the loveliest guys you could meet, to boot.

    David — April 17, 2013 @ 8:49 am

  • What an amazing concert. Will Johnson is an amazing songwriter and and amazing voice.

    Brad — April 17, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

  • I’m beaming myself over there next week. Let’s hope that Star Trek technology is finally perfected in time for my plan.

    Dainon — April 18, 2013 @ 9:27 am

  • Hi Heather- I’ve been a fan of your blog for some time now. Thanks for all your musical insight. — I’ve had the honor of hosting Will twice now here in STL and he is not only an incredibly talented singer/songwriter, he is the sweetest guy you’ll ever meet. Have a great show!

    Annie-san — April 18, 2013 @ 10:05 am

  • Saw him last night in Cheyenne…Amazing.

    Scott — April 23, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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