The vibrant smell of popcorn in the landmark venue of Irving Plaza makes the atmosphere for this show one that you cannot forget. This sold out show featuring JOHNNYSWIM started before the first note was strummed by opening act, native New Yorker now residing in Nashville Jonny P. The lines were buzzing as people anxiously waited to arrive into the music hall to be amazed. Watching Irving Plaza fill up from the 50 people to well over 1000 all excited for a music orgasm made this anticipation for a great show worthwhile. Everyone was ready for the New York stop of the Let It Matter Tour.
Jonny P looked good and sounded amazing! Rocking a custom suit, accompanied by an electric guitar, cello, violin, and a drummer playing a suitcase as a bass drum with a snare drum, while he rocks a tambourine and shaker, made a scene for amazing music. His soulful voice and vibe is the perfect opener to compliment JOHNNYSWIM’s essence of folk music.
JOHNNYSWIM is comprised of a dynamic couple that gives the music they sing, meaning, soul, and depth. Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez based in LA met in Nashville in 2005 and their songwriting partnership led to the beginning of a romantic relationship along with their creative connection.
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Their set started out big and dynamic playing the hit songs “Don’t Let It Get You Down” and then my personal favorite, “Adelina.” They transitioned from the high energy and started to play the subtle songs that make the intricacies of the melody standout and you have no choice but to stop what you’re doing and pay attention.
They believe in the force of love. This is something that isn’t breed forcefully, but has been cultivated through the hearts of two people putting love purposefully in their lyrics and music.
In a time where America has been extremely divided post election this is the kind of love needed to unite this country. It was truly breathtaking standing in a room where people were back to back, elbow to elbow, inappropriately in each others space singing along in harmony and unity. To add to the unity they inspired, they performed “Drunks.”
Oddly enough I met an industry counterpart on line and we struck up a conversation about the featured act. He had asked me why JOHNNYSWIM hasn’t broken onto the radio?
I told him because they’re a married couple, married for real, in love for real, and it spews in their music and lyrics. I told him that radio and entertainment sell the opposite of that. They want love songs, but that come from heartbreak, they don’t want true love, they want the negativity that builds to it.
The way Amanda and Abner look at each other, sing together, and interact on stage, gives you a glimpse of hope that love is real and everyone can access it. Mainstream music may love what true love offers, but they may not be ready accept it.
During the course of the show they explain the inspiration of their latest release “Georgica Pond.” Amanda explains that it is a place where her mother, the late legendary Donna Summer took her as a teenager to experience the simplicities of life. The title track bearing the same name as the album is an ode to memory of her mother, but also the future of what life has giving them.
To close out the show they performed their hit “Diamonds” and had Irving Plaza shaking with everyone clapping and singing the chorus in harmony. As a spontaneous surprise Amanda and Abner jump into the middle of the hall floor and sang “Home.”
When we thought they were done, they weren’t done just yet! They ran out and performed more ballads for the crowd. Just the two of them and Abner playing guitar, together into one mic, serenading us deep into the NYC night. They finally closed with “On the Road Again” made famous by Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
Sweet vocals, sultry guitar playing, and booming bass makes this musical set one you can’t miss. JOHNNYSWIM embody folk music and add a beautiful element of themselves and their love into it.