John Howard – To The Left of the Moon’s Reflection

The pandemic is inescapable across album number 17 from 1970s singer/songwriter turned 21st century indie artist John Howard.

Writing and recording began in his home studio in Spain during the winter of 2019 and carried on into Spring this year, when the world suddenly locked down and we started living in fear of our lives from Covid-19.

So as a listener in a Covid-19 world it is a slightly odd experience. Almost every new release’s mood and lyrics sound like they are about the pandemic and lockdown. It’s as if the artists like Howard are emerging from lockdown, even though they can no longer play live. But they can take small comfort in digital releases and online gigs.

I wonder what I’d have made of this album without a great big lumbering health crisis as the backdrop of its release this summer?

Among my favourites is Centuries, a tale of love and nature, but the spectre of pandemic comes through again in the lyrics. The lonely old tree it describes will always be there. When the world was right, wrong, and hopefully right again.Any of the reasons I warm to this particular track is because it features the full John Howard choir of vocal layering. Howard is responsible for all the instruments and vocals by the way.

While some of Howard’s many releases, since his return to recording at the turn of the century, have been piano based, this features a range of keyboards and acoustic guitar, mastered by long term collaborator Ian Button.

This collection has a nice mid tempo feel to it. In addition, there’s a melancholy feel to most tracks but not too downbeat.

I know I do disservice to see the pandemic across the tracks. There’s other subjects at work here. But as a post lockdown release it sets the mood perfectly, whether intended or not.


By Joe Lepper

To The Left of the Moon’s Reflection is available via John’s website, as well as the usual digital channels. It is released in America via Kool Kat Musik.


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