VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: ‘American Idol’ Winner Caleb Johnson On His New Album ‘Born From Southern Ground’
Caleb Johnson first rose to prominence in the music world in 2014 when he won the 13th season of American Idol.
Since then, the 28-year-old rock singer and Asheville, North Carolina, native has released a lot of new music.
Johnson talked to uInterview exclusively about his upcoming album Born From Southern Ground, which will be released on June 14.
“Born From Southern Ground is a record that I’ve been working on for almost four years now,” he said. “I recorded it in Nashville, Tennessee at Zac Brown‘s studio.”
“It’s just raw, real, soulful rock ‘n’ roll music,” he added of the album. “If I had to pitch, I would say it’s like The Black Crowes meets Bob Seger. It’s very old-school 70s style.”
Johnson also revealed he is very proud of this album partly because he felt like he had much more “control” over its creation and development than he did with his previous records.
“This record represented my vision and was basically a dream that became a reality,” he said.
Two singles have been released thus far ahead of the full release of Born From Southern Ground: “Born and Raised” and “Solid Gold,” both of which Johnson said he loves.
— Caleb Perry Johnson (@CalebJohnson) April 7, 2019
Indeed, Johnson has been very heavily influenced throughout his career by many 1970s southern/soul rock bands and some 1990s grunge groups as well.
“If I had to narrow down my top five favorite records, it would be Queen‘s A Night at the Opera, Meat Loaf’s Bat out of Hell, Rush’s 2112, Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell and Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits,” he said of his “melting pot” of taste in music.
Johnson also recently formed a band called The Ramblin’ Saints, which he joked he really enjoys partly because it serves as a great addition for his “boring, bland name.”
Full interview transcript below:
Q: How would you describe your new album?
A: So the new album “Born from Southern Ground” that comes out June 14th, is a record that I’ve been working on for the past… almost four years now, recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s at Brown studio, cut it live on the floor. It’s just raw, real, soulful, rock and roll music. If I had to like pitch it I would say it’s like the Black Crowes meets Bob Seger. It’s very old-school 70s style, it’s been the culmination of three years of super hard work and basically just wrote and recorded it all in Nashville and it’s been a blast and it’s completely happy with it and I’m really excited for the fans to
gets here this record.
Q: Is this album a better reflection of your music?
A: If we’re talking about the idol record, which is the record that came out with American Idol, I really didn’t have control over that record and you know I had a lot of elements working against me instead of with me, and so with this record, I had complete control over everything and it was really this record represented in my vision and was sort of you know it just was basically a dream that became a reality so it would this was my this is my dream project.
Q: Do you have a favorite single?
A: We actually released two singles, we released “Born and Raised,” back in September of last year before the trans-Siberian Orchestra tour and then just released “Solid Gold, which is the new single that just came out probably a couple of weeks ago that was co-written by Jay Buchanan of the band Rival Sons. It’s just a blast, it’s like Led
Zeppelin and Queen and Lynyrd Skynyrd all crammed into one you know big bombastic rock-and-roll
a package so it’s cool.
Q: How would you describe the sound?
A: I would say it’s soulful, visceral, over-the-top rock and roll, you know I’m very heavily influenced by 70s rock and also some of the 90s grunge, you know I would say you know I had to narrow down my top five favorite records it would be: Queen’s “Night at the Opera”, Meat Loaf’s “Bat out of Hell”, Russia’s “2112”, Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell,” Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits, so there’s a lot of different kind of stuff that is really kind of in a melting pot so to speak him the music that represents me, my original music, so all of those different flavors in you know genres are kind of mixed in there and that’s kind of the sound that this record is so I would definitely say it’s like going to the Church of rock and roll times a million you know so it’s definitely like let’s start it over the top and let’s go beyond that.
Q: How did the band come together?
A: Being a singer and also, especially a rock and roll singer, you know it makes more sense to have a band behind my name because one I have a really boring bland name so it’s just cool to have a little extra something, it’s basically like using the template of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers or you know that kind of like there’s an added extra thing you know and that’s I think it just kind of ties it all into the sort of the rock world you know so to speak because I’m not a pop artist so it doesn’t I don’t think it really fits, you got to have that little extra side of gravy to put on the mashed potatoes.