Jonny Fritz (from the album Dad Country) - Dad Country is the first release under the name of Jonny Fritz. Dad Country is a good title direct for the songs collected on the album. Known as a musical entity under the heading Jonny Corndawg since his late teens, the real Mr. Fritz is using the name that he used to sign his ATO Records deal. No worries about Jonny selling out. He signed the contract with gravy during a meeting at Nashville’s Arnold’s Country Kitchen.
Musically, the songs show lineage to your Dad’s, or your Granddad’s, Country, depending upon your age. Scratchy fiddles fly high over sensibly consistent beats. The rhythms on are metronome straight, giving plenty of room for the Dad Country aforementioned fiddles, pedal steel and guitar riffs to have their way. Listening to the albums instrumental track, simple called “Instrumental” you could be hearing a warm-up outtakes from Marty Robbins “Gunslinger Ballads and Trail Songs” album. Vocally, Jonny stays on track with the classic country sound of his music. It is warm and friendly with plenty of country wisdom surfacing in the words. There is honesty in the stories. That believability was king on AM radio airwaves of the 1950’s and 60’s delivered by songwriters and performers like some of Jonny’s personal heroes, Tom T. Hall and Roger Miller.
What separated those writers from their songwriting peers was the way the words fit together. It was a conversation between people. You never felt you were being preached to or at the receiving end of unwanted advice…. “Here is what happened to me, it was the dangdest thing.” The ability to give words a dual citizenship as a conversation and a good song is an art. Jonny Fritz is the artist on Dad Country and he crafts his songs with wry humor. The subjects are not always pleasant memories but in the songs of Jonny Fritz, even the harshest topics can bring a smile when you see yourself in the mirror of his words.
“Fever Dream” is a sickly haze of phrases that are a laundry list of the lowest day of an illness, presumably far from home on the road in a lonely motel room from which you more than likely will never leave. Even in his bleakest, like on heart tears that examine the tail end of a relationships (“All We Ever Do Is Complain”) and question mortality (“Have You Ever Really Wanted to Die”), Jonny sings the light of sunshine to brighten the moments.
There is where Jonny veers from the classic country that he loves. While country songs can be funny, there is never the intelligent humor that lives and breathes down your neck in the music of Jonny Fritz. It is not Pop music to take you away from real life, these songs make you think (insert shudder here). “Ain’t It Your Birthday” follows an unwanted party guest who wants in, asking the question of the candle blower, “hey, well ain’t it your birthday then why aren’t you smiling”. A way with words does not begin to cover what Jonny does with a pen and a piece of paper.
Dad Country opens with a gem of a tune. It is to the credit of the following tracks that they can see over the bar created by “Goodbye Summer” as its spins its tale of a truly amazing night that can be seen through the blur of a morning after. “Wrong Crowd” dances a Samba beat as it finger points out those around you who are “the kind of friends who aren’t friends at all their just some people in a crowded bar”. “All the addicts, and the crazies, and the rabies and the rashes, the boozers and the losers and the scratches of their asses” get name checked in “Social Climbers’ as Jonny tours a life in Hollywood where “good girls come to become no good”. It is the words of Jonny Fritz that elevate the songs on Dad Country to another level of where classic Country music meets a literary Rock Realism.
Produced by Jonny and Dawes member Taylor Goldsmith.Dad Country was recorded at Jackson Browne’s west coast studio. The fever was upon them and Dad Country was recorded in just four days, with Jonny’s band, Jackson Browne and the remaining Dawes members all coming on board for the production.
Listen and buy music from Jonny Fritz on AMAZON or iTunes