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Freedy Johnston (born 1961) is a New York Citymarker-based singer-songwriter originally from Kinsleymarker, Kansasmarker.Having scored several minor hits since the early 1990s, Johnston's songs are often about troubled loners, and cover topics like heartbreak, alienation and disappointment. Known for the craftsmanship of his songs, he has been described as a "songwriter's songwriter."


Early years

Johnston was raised in Kinsleymarker, Kansasmarker. The town was so small that in 2009, nearly 50 years from Johnston's birth, the population was only 1,658, his interest in music was hampered by the fact that there were no record shops or music stores in his hometown. When he was sixteen, he bought his first guitar from a mail order catalouge, and at 17, had a friend drive him the 35 miles to the closest record store to buy an Elvis Costello album he had read about. When he graduated high school, and left to attend the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, Kansasmarker, he immersed himself in the new wave music scene. By 1985, with some songs he'd recorded on a four-track recorder he moved to New York City. After a few years there, he signed with Bar None Records, and debuted just two tracks called Time for a Change, in 1989, and his first album was released in 1990, titled The Trouble Tree. While the album reviews were generally good, they were not commercially successful. To pay for the cost of a sophmore attempt, Johnston sold some of his family's farmland to finance the recording of his second album, Can You Fly (an event he wrote about in a song on that album, "Trying to Tell You I Don't Know"). Johnston followed up with his 1994 major label debut, This Perfect World, which received rave reviews and led to Rolling Stone naming him "songwriter of the year". Robert Christgau proclaimed it "a perfect album". Other publications, including The New York Times, Spin, and Musician Magazine gave the album high marks as well. It featured the single "Bad Reputation", which reached 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is one of his best-known songs. The success he enjoyed convinced Elektra to sign him and he released his next three albums under that label; Never Home, Blue Days Black Nights, and Right Between the Promises and while they didn't reach the same level of praise as This Perfect World, they still had both respectable reviews and commercial success.

He has contributed songs to the soundtracks for movies including Kingpin, Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, and Kicking and Screaming. Johnston and fellow musicians Jay Moran, James "Pie" Cowan, Duke Erikson, and Butch Vig perform occasional shows as a covers band called "The Know-it-All Boyfriends". Vig put the ensemble together for his brother's Christmas party, and it proved to be so much fun that they decided to keep going.

Johnston released is a covers album titled My Favorite Waste of Time. It includes selections from Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, Matthew Sweet and The Hollies. His most recent CD, called Rain on the City, was released in 2009.


Johnston's music has been discussed by a critic from CD Universe, after the release of This Perfect World, claiming that, "his music marries perfectly realized power-pop sensibility to skilled, literary writing chops."


With other artists


  1. Pulse of the Twin Cities - Freedy Johnston: Ready for Round Two
  2. Freedy Johnston Bio
  3. - This Perfect World CD

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