The Northeast Ohio-based progressive rock band Alex Hall’s Figurehead
has just announced that it'll release Johnny
, its first new album in four years, this week on all major streaming platforms.
Pete Drivere of Youngstown Ohio’s Ampreon Recorder engineered, mixed and co-produced the album, and Adam Boose of Cauliflower Audio mastered it. Tim Wilderoder also co-produced.
The follow-up to 2016's Carrion
, the new album serves as somewhat of a departure for singer-songwriter Alex Hall, known as the former bandleader of Northeast Ohio’s Aliver Hall (2009-2014) and as a member of Cincinnati’s Four Ohms (1999-2004).
Though his background is in jam bands, Hall veers toward progressive rock with the concept album Johnny
. It centers on a childhood friend's trials and tribulations.
"Johnny was a friend of mine," writes Hall in the liner notes. "Our grandparents lived down the street from each other. On the weekends, we both spent with our respective grandparents as kids. We played together, had sleepovers, and played video games all night long. As teenagers, we grew apart but maintained contact and still met up occasionally, sometimes eventfully, sometimes not so much. Johnny became an alcoholic. Then a drug addict. His father died. His grandparents died. Somewhere along the line, he got married, had kids, got divorced and then lost the right to see the kids. Eventually, I moved away, and he stayed behind."
Years later, Hall ran into Johnny's grown-up kid brother, who suggested he visited him.
"He was confined to a wheelchair, the result of an unfortunate medical condition that went untreated when medical workers thought he was merely trying to connive his way into prescription drugs," writes Hall. "I visited briefly and promised to return, but he died before I ever could. This is [his] story with some of the blanks filled in. I can't know how he felt or what went on inside his head as he spiraled, but his story is all too common — and he is not the only friend I've lost to addiction."
Hall sings and plays guitar and keyboards on the album. He wrote all the songs himself.
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