Ethan Johns – ‘The Reckoning’

Producer-turned-singer turns out committed but less enjoyable second LP

That this is celebrated producer Ethan Johns’s second album suggests commitment to becoming an artist in his own right, and he was no doubt encouraged by good reviews for his 2012 debut, ‘If Not Now, Then When?’ There’s less to enjoy here. Produced by Ryan Adams, who Johns himself has produced (as well as Kings Of Leon, Laura Marling, Macca and Tom Jones), ‘The Reckoning’ is a mix of English folk (‘Go Slow’), dusty American ballads (‘Among The Sugar Pines’), blues (‘Talking Talking Blues’) and Bill Callahan-style singer-songwriter material (‘You Changed’). It’s lyrically weak, however, (sample: “The moon falls in your doorway”) and although there’s sparkle in the production, Johns reveals himself to be a far from charismatic singer.

Phil Hebblethwaite