Are You a Hopeless Romantic?

Homestead (Poet Man Records)

Michael Johnathon

By Larry Alexander

OK, I am a romantic. I am in fact a hopeless romantic. I believe in the joy of kitties, puppies, babies, being a grandpa and the fact that there is one woman out there who can always bring the upside-down stomach feeling to me. I am fortunate to have found her 40 years ago and her kiss still flip-flops my stomach. I believe in the goodness of mankind, even after 55 years.

Johnathon, a New York native who relocated to Mousie, Ky., starts with "Winter's Eve," a poem/song about how he feels with his lover close to him in bed on a cold winter night. The title cut, which is part of a suite titled "The Homestead Trilogy," speaks to the warmth and comfort of home and family. Hey, he has Sam Bush playing the mandolin and fiddle on this cut. The suite ends with "Suppertime," a beautiful instrumental exit. If this suite doesn't create a tear, you are not where you need to be in life. It just doesn't get better.

"America" - a satire - speaks to how totally goofy we Americans are. It made me laugh at myself. "Bells of Cold November" touched me deeply and I cannot tell you why - too personal. "The Crimson Rose Trilogy" follows and is based on a short story in Johnathon's book WoodSongsII. If you don't know the story, you miss the total impact of the Trilogy. When you buy the CD, buy the story. It will be worth the time and money -if you are a romantic.

"Ayatolla McHussein" is just fun. What would a bluegrass band sound like in Saddam's territory? Like this. This one cut alone is worth the price of the CD. "Gambler's Grave" is classic Americana - the stories of our forefathers. "The MichaelB Rag" is a pleasant bluegrass instrumental with the strange twist of ragtime. I love it. "Appreciation" is the love song poem on the album. If I had talent I would have written this to my wife. "Masterpiece" speaks to the birth of Johnathon's daughter on the night of her birth. If you have been there or want to go there this will touch you. "Homer's Workshop" is the finale and is an instrumental testament to the talent on this CD.

This man is a genius. I am in awe and I am rarely in awe. I would love to spend some time with Johnathon to learn how to express my feelings. I would have never found this had I not had the privilege of reviewing artists. Probably the best artist I have ever heard - but then I am a hopeless romantic.