7. Canyon City on the "Modern Folk" Label, Growing Up in Fargo, and Writing Songs about Water

Matthias Interviews Musicians: A Pop Songwriting Podcast

18-10-2020 • 38 mins

This week, I speak with Paul Johnson, who performs under the moniker Canyon City, about what "modern folk" means to him, growing up and playing in a folk trio with his parents in Fargo, North Dakota, and writing emotional and vividly descriptive songs (and speculate as to why so many of them revolve around fire and water). Since its inception in 2015, the project has become known for its distinctive whispery vocals layered over intimate acoustics orbiting candidly emotional storytelling.

As Johnson self-released a series EPs and LPs over the last five years, the industry took notice, with Canyon City frequenting Spotify editorial playlists and winning praise from media like NPR, Paste, American Songwriter and more.  His combined streams on Spotify alone surpass 100 million, with an average of 1.3 million monthly listeners. It’s quite easy to see exactly why Johnson is a streaming giant. His songwriting—fusing conversational narratives with modern-folk textures in the vein of Gregory Alan Isakov, The Tallest Man On Earth, and Noah Gundersen—is rich in emotional detail.

Now, Canyon City prepares to release Circling The Sun, a warm, inviting and sweetly cinematic EP primarily written and produced in household settings, save for a bit of recording at the local Library. He teamed back up with Nashville-based producer Zachary David who added his own homespun elements to the project. David, who is also a TV/film composer, used found objects (think couch kickdrums, t-shirt slapping snares and crumpled paper percussion) around the home when producing the EP, partially out of necessity due to Covid19. But the unorthodox arrangements only enhance the EP’s lived-in aesthetic.

Please go and follow Canyon City at:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6TdfKQvrdHZdr4DIzjuWOr
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/artist/canyon-city/1019253812
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/CanyonCityMusic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CanyonCityMusic
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/canyoncitymusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CanyonCityMusic

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You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MKLikesMusic

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