Album Review: Canyon City – Refuge EP

Album Review: Canyon City – Refuge EP

The opening song of Canyon City’s debut EP is “Fix You,” a cover of the Coldplay hit. That might sound like a run of the mill place to begin an acoustic EP, but it immediately shows the grace and intimacy of Paul Johnson’s lyrics. He plays his guitar as if he genuinely, truly loves the music he makes. He delivers lyrics like he means them. Canyon City is going on my short list for full length albums to look for in the near future, but this EP is a treat in and of itself.

“Fix You” begins with a light and almost airy feeling on the guitar. The piano provides backing power for the track. I’m not sure, but it sounds as though the background vocals on the bridge later in the song sound like they might be Paul on multitrack. They sound lovely and when the soothing organ enters the track, listeners are invited to the total package of comforting music.

The second track “Blue” is so good, I Googled the first line to see if it was a cover, too. But it’s not. This is a fantastic original. It’s the kind of song that I truly love; it incorporates elements of gorgeous finger-picked acoustic guitar along with an authentically-delivered lyrical line. The way the song meshes together is really the mark of good songwriting. Canyon City reminds me of artists like Joshua Hyslop who have the ability to draw the listening audience right up onto the stage beside the singer. He is phenomenal.

“Be Still” is another similarly relaxed song. There’s an introspective element to this one. “I can tell you one thing; whenever someone loves you don’t look back, don’t worry, be still.” It’s romantic and definitely true. I really like how Canyon City is able to pierce through the noise to create something subtle and beautiful.

The title track “Refuge” ends the album much earlier than I am ready for. I know it’s an EP, but gosh could I use more of this talented artist. The crawling, crescendoing piano creates an ambient ethos for the song, which works perfectly with Paul’s voice. “There is a rescue in your arms…” It could be a spiritual song or a romantic one, but either way it’s definitely the audio picture of intimacy.

This is a gem of an album and one that will find its way into steady rotation for me. “Blue” is my favorite, but really all four are excellent compositions. I will be waiting with bated breath for the continuation of this talented young artist’s career; I simply can’t wait to hear him live. You should consider following allowing with this bright and budding career.


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