It had been six long years since the last time Texas native Johnny Falstaff delivered an album of original music. With February’s Lost in the City Lights, Falstaff is proving that sometimes good things are worth the wait; as Falstaff provides 10 autobiographical songs drenched in steel guitar.
The album’s lead single “Move a Mountain” is quickly becoming one of the signature songs in his nearly two decade long recording career, and songs like “Constant” and “Stars” give the album a depth that listeners need to make any album “great.”
Read along as Falstaff discusses ending his six year recording hiatus, many of the songs on Lost in the City Lights, how he has grown in his two decade career, his plans for 2020 and more!
Pro Country: It was six years between the release of your last album Metro-Billy and your newest album Lost in the City Lights. How excited were you to be putting an album out again after having that time pass?
Johnny Falstaff: I’d been chomping at the bit to get some new stuff out there! Right after I released Metro-Billy, I took the plunge and moved to Germany. It took some time to settle in and to think about how I would continue to record and release music. I released The Best of Johnny Falstaff vinyl record in 2016 and started putting a home studio together. Now it’s full steam ahead.
PC: “Move a Mountain” was released as the first single from Lost in the City Lights, and has quickly become the signature song on its album. Why did you decide to release that song first, and what do you think it is about the song that is allowing it to connect with listeners the way it is?
JF: I think I got lucky with that choice. Hell, it really wasn’t a choice at all. As a DIY guy, I’m constantly second guessing everything when it comes to the business aspect of the music business. It can lead to paralysis by analysis, and it drives me crazy to be standing still. “Move a Mountain” was the first song I cut for the record, so I went with it for the first single. Most of the folks that listen to my music are old school country music fans, and “Move a Mountain” is a pretty hard-hitting honky tonk song.
PC: “Lost in the City Lights” leads off its album on a steel-drenched, honky tonkin’ note. Why did you decide to name the album after that song?
JF: To an extent, all of the songs on the record are autobiographical, but this one takes me to a peculiar little corner in my mind. I had moved back home to Texas from Nashville in ’91, kicked it around with a few bands, and eventually put one together called The Sundowners. Houston had a really cool scene at the time, and we would put on the western finery and go out carousing amongst it. That is what the song is about, and I think it still holds true; folks love to go out looking for lovin’.
PC: “Constant” is our favorite song from the Lost in the City Lights album. Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
JF: There are a couple of songs on this record that went pretty deep. This is one of them. My wife doesn’t know it, but I wrote this song for her.
PC: Do you have a favorite song on Lost in the City Lights? If so, why is it so special to you?
JF: That’s a tough call, it changes daily! Right now, I’m diggin’ on “Stars” because I’m in a vibraphone kind of mood.
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from Lost in the City Lights after listening all the way through?
JF: I would hope that nobody gets pregnant (just kidding). I’d like to think that the folks familiar with my music got the best Falstaff record to date. I’d also hope that any new listeners might be turned on enough to check out other artists in the Ameripolitan genre. We could accomplish a lot if we work together.
PC: In your career, you have been nominated for several Ameripolitan Awards, most recently, being nominated for “Honky Tonk Male Artist” in 2020. What has the recognition from the Ameripolitan Awards throughout your career meant to you?
JF: I’ve been a supporter since the beginning, and it is a thrill to see Ameripolitan morphing into more than just an annual event; it is becoming a community, a movement, and I’m blessed to be a part of it.
PC: It’s been nearly two decades since you released your debut album Bad Tonight. Where do you think you have grown the most in that time?
JF: A lot has changed in 20 years! I would like to think that I’ve grown in my songwriting, as well as producing and arranging. When I was younger, I wanted to put flashy guitar on everything. Nowadays, that is becoming a little less appealing to me. A little taste goes a long way. I fear that I may be maturing.
PC: Along with promoting Lost in the City Lights,” what are your plans for 2020?
JF: I have more songs to record, for one thing. I would also like to take time out to do some script writing. Back in 2011, my fellow partner in crime Hank Schyma and I wrote and produced a feature length film called “Honky Tonk Blood.” I’d developed an addiction to creative writing, but the last few years have allowed very little time for it. We have a new idea for a screenplay that is starting to take shape.
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
JF: One more thing that I’d like to add is a word of thanks. Artists can work their tails off writing and recording music, but it is the independent DJ’s, reviewers, bloggers, playlisters and enthusiastic fans that help spread the word. Without you guys, it would be a tougher row to hoe. Thank you.
*Images courtesy of Johnny Falstaff*