Born in Minneapolis, John Louis grew up on a farm outside the city where he nurtured his introverted side meandering through the woods, wetlands, and pastures, alone with his thoughts and observations and perhaps a dog or two. At home, he was exposed to healthy doses of songwriting giants from the 60s and 70s on his parents’ turntable. Eventually, that solid base led him to the usual list of folk and country icons who shaped his songwriting sensibility. For years now a committed city dweller, John retains a watchful eye and ear attuned to a good story, a poetic line, and an occasional nugget of truth.
In early 2021 Louis is releasing two singles — “Gone Too Far” and “Shut Down” — recorded in COVID19-isolation with producer Shane Leonard. Along with Leonard, musicians on the singles include Sam Kassirer, Ben Lester, Jeremy Boettcher, and Siri Undlin. While these songs may be familiar favorites to some who have caught John’s recent live shows or live recording, the contributions of this group of outstanding, intuitive musicians and full studio treatment transform “Gone Too Far” and “Shut Down” in a surprising manner, casting them in a captivating new light.
Glide is thrilled to premiere the insightfully incisive “Shut Down,” a showcase for Louis’ warm vibrato that is reminiscent of both Lambchop and Cass McCombs. When the twang is served on the underbelly of the song, Americana is served at its most emotive, and Louis adheres exquisitely.
“I write songs about people and their stories. Sometimes people I know, sometimes characters in a movie, book or podcast, sometimes strangers in the next booth at a bar or cafe. I chose to record with Shane Leonard as producer on these songs because I love the work he did with Anna Tivel, among others. Shane and I spent a long time talking about the songs before we recorded a note. When I wrote Shut Down I thought it crossed a few lines. I put it on the list of songs that I likely wouldn’t play out in public. But when I did play it for some confidants at late night writers sessions, their reactions changed my mind,” says Louis.