Freedy Johnston “Never Home”


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#593 of the Series) is Freedy Johnston, Never Home

Have you ever taken a chance and bought a record even though you never heard anything by the artist before you made the investment? I found this CD in the “Country” section of the department store (Venture- Midwest chain now long gone). Maybe subconsciously I did hear his music featured in one of my favorite movies “Kingpin”; “Bad Reputation” was featured in the film.

Or maybe I was on a lucky streak and looking to discover more new music. Whatever it was, I hit a home run with this gem. These are some of the catchiest pop tunes you never heard. The hook on the bridge to “You Get Me Lost” is so sharp I get chills writing about it. Freedy has many works out, but for me this is the absolute best, and though he has been described as a “songwriters songwriter” (I am not a songwriter, but a guess this is major compliment), he or this recorded never achieved much commercial success.  I am only guessing, but perhaps the title is because he had to be on the road all the time trying to make money as an artist.  There is no title track, but all the songs are stories and smart ones at that.

In addition to his writing ability, he also possesses a voice very similar to New Zealand artist and former Split Enz front man Tim Finn. In fact when I first heard a cover compilation of XTC songs, and came to the track “Earn Enough For Us”, without looking at the CD I would have sworn it was done by Tim.

Never Home is a superb effort by an extremely clever and underappreciated musician.  I never got to see Freedy live, but did have tickets once to a small Chicago Club in Lincoln Park (Martyrs). Since the show time was listed as 10:00 I had time beforehand to visit another club down the street (Schuba’s) where a friend of mine was playing with his band. When I got to the Johnston show, it was 10:30 and the opening act still hadn’t taken the stage. I asked the board operator what time Freedy’s set would get started and when informed 12:30; I left for home, because I was, after all, never home.

— John Driscoll, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Track listing

  1. “On the Way Out”
  2. “I’m Not Hypnotized”
  3. “Western Sky”
  4. “One More Thing to Break”
  5. “He Wasn’t Murdered”
  6. “You Get Me Lost”
  7. “Hotel Seventeen”
  8. “Gone to See the Fire”
  9. “Seventies Girl”
  10. “If It’s True”
  11. “Something’s Out There”


  • Freedy Johnston – Guitar, Vocals
  • Danny Kortchmar – Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion
  • Mary Lee Kortes – Vocals
  • Stan Lynch – Drums, Guitar, Percussion
  • Graham Maby – Bass
  • Jane Scarpantoni – Cello
  • Dave Schramm – Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar


Here’s a few tunes from the album

Here’s Freedy’s Bad Reputation. I bet you know it!

Posted by Larry Carta

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