While many solo pianists come to their chosen sound from a background in classical music, Irish musician Josh Johnston is a bit different because his background is church choirs, prog-rock in college, lots of touring with folk singers, several pop-folk vocal recordings and two CDs and tours with the MacKenzie-Johnston Band (a swing-jazz group). So where did the urge to perform solo come from? His biographical materials give a couple hints. The first is that after playing organ or piano at church choir rehearsals, he often stayed late, dimmed the lights and practiced improvising all alone. Another clue is that the people of Ireland rediscovered a silent film that his grandfather made in the Thirties and decided to screen it regularly for modern audiences to share in the history, so Josh attended the screenings and performed solo piano music for the soundtrack (mostly improvised music, although two tunes on this latest recording of his came out of those experimentings). Somehow this entire album has an Irish feel to it and there is not a Celtic fiddle or pennywhistle in sight. Johnston claims, “There often are distinct traditional Irish harmonies in what I play.” So that may be it. Perhaps only a musicologist would know for sure. But for some reason I smell peat bogs, Irish whiskey and boiling potatoes when I listen to this music. I feel like walking the moors or along a harbor quay or through green, green fields. I feel like growing a red beard and downing a few pints at the local pub. This music takes me to some kind of Irish fantasyland, and that is not a bad thing. Find out more about Josh Johnston at www.joshjohnston.com.