Sound Advice: Johnnyswim with Will Solomon (March 9)

American Folk/Pop duo Johnnyswim plays Bogart’s.

click to enlarge Johnnyswim - Photo: Darren Lau
Photo: Darren Lau
Of all the groups that ever came frontloaded with a surfeit of expectation, Johnnyswim could easily lead the pack. Essentially comprised of vocal duo Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano, the seeds of Johnnyswim were planted over a decade and a half ago when the pair met through mutual friends at a Nashville coffee shop while Sudano was visiting from New York.

Sudano returned a few months later and Ramirez invited her to his show, which led to their subsequent professional and personal partnership. Florida native Ramirez had graduated from the music program at Jacksonville’s prestigious Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and, with a voice hovering in the John Legend range, quickly embarked on a successful performing and songwriting career. Sudano is the scion of Pop royalty. Her father, Bruce Sudano, was mentored by Tommy James of the Shondells, played keyboards for the groups Alive N Kickin’ and The Brooklyn Dreams and became a renowned producer. Her mother was the legendary Donna Summer.

The pair officially launched Johnnyswim in 2005, playing local and regional shows before releasing their debut EP in 2008. In 2009, they solidified their relationship by getting married and later that year they appeared on Bruce Sudano’s album Life and the Romantic. Over the next three years, Johnnyswim toured constantly, independently released two more EPs and appeared onThe Tonight Show and The Late, Late Show before signing with the Big Picnic label for its debut full-length, 2014’s Diamonds, which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Singer/Songwriter chart.

Since then, the duo has stayed perpetually busy, releasing a 2014 Christmas album, welcoming the birth of their son in 2015 and dropping both a live recording and a new studio album, Georgica Pond, in 2016. 

Although Johnnyswim’s forte is clearly romantic Pop, there is an atmospheric undercurrent and soulful dynamism, not to mention a cauldron of actual emotion, that elevates its songs well above the simple clichéd lyrical and musical explorations of a well-worn condition everyone sings about. Take someone you love to Johnnyswim and be prepared to fall in love just a little bit more, with your significant other and with the band as well.

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