AFTERBURN: Folk at Arena Level (Songs of War, Peace & Power)



“AFTERBURN: Folk at Arena Level” full studio album on CD


Michael Johnathon is not exactly a “normal” folksinger.

AFTERBURN is the word used when something truly rattles the cages and leaves people with a startled, surprised reaction. The album AFTERBURN does that with folk music … the recordings ignite the idea of “folk” from the coffeehouse and launches it to arena level. Literally. Forget the cliche of the folksinger sitting in some coffeehouse somewhere crooning about lost maidens, ships at sea and social causes.

Some may really like this. Others … well, it may not exactly be their “cup of tea.” But then, Michael Johnathon is not exactly interested in inviting you for a pleasant cup of tea, either. He’s out to surprise, shock or even bewilder you. Musically speaking.

AFTERBURN brings banjos, mandolins and acoustic guitars to heart pounding, unexpected levels.


RADIO AND MEDIA (MP3 and .WAV downloads): email


The Songs

1. TECHNO-FOLK brings the long neck banjo into the rock arena with a full symphony orchestra, recorded live in the studio in one take. The tune, based on the classic Irish ballad “Paddy Works the Railway” storms through the noise and events of time … from the 1960’s all the way to Star Wars in the skies … proving the more things change, the more they stay the same. Think Pete Seeger meets Eddie Van Halen.. HERE THE TECHNO-FOLK SINGLE BELOW:

2. AMERICA is an acoustic-rock-edged tongue-in-cheek look at the often confusing, often contradictory, often adorable life in America … so long as your credit card works.

3. THE WORLD WE MADE is an acoustic guitar statement about the world of our choosing, whether personal, emotional or among nations. It’s ours to live in, one way or another.

4. THE DREAM Written on his couch as a three chord folk song, this not just a song about the earth at peace, it is a genuine musical event recorded with a full 61-piece symphony, a rock band of Grammy winners and four children’s choirs singing in English, Spanish, French and Russian. It is an epic inverted prayer: God praying to mankind to keep the Earth at Peace … rising into the massive, majestic realm of a creator begging his creation to stop fighting.

5. ASSASSINS IN THE KINGDOM is a politically charged, cinematic war, nations toppling leaders, communities storming kingdoms, even capitol buildings, the leaderless ripping apart political parties and old ideologies. It is Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Pink Floyd all wrapped up into one amazing work that ends in a musical battle between the ideologies..

6. DREAMS OF FIRE is a musical motion picture, a lyrical dreamscape about love lost, youth lost and wasted time pursuing things that really don’t matter.

7. BENEDICTION is a mandolin driven prayer to someone you are not sure is there, not sure is listening, not sure even cares. Passionate pleading that sails high into the universe and falls back upon you, silent and unanswered.

8. YOUNG & ALONE is the angst, drama and loneliness of being very young, very unsure, very lost in a world that expects you to act “normal,” is about a young generation drifting with few role models, fewer parents, and even fewer morals.

9. CYBER BUBBA is a bluegrass song with a rock drummer, all about the perils of online dating, featuring JD Crowe on banjo, Kati Penn of fiddle, Rob Ickes on dobro.

10. CARS like the song says, “people don’t sing about cars no more …”

11. SHADY GROVE is the classic American folk song


All songs written, arranged and produced by Michael Johnathon ©Rachel Aubrey Music, Inc/BMI

Shady Grave, traditional Arranged and Adapted by Michael Johnathon

Sequenced and Mastered at TOWER STATION STUDIOS, Jeff Myers, engineer Lexington, KY


The Folk Poem

Folk is the Mother of music.

She gave birth to a son named Rock’n’Roll
and bore a beautiful daughter named Country.

Folk conceived the sad children of the Blues

and the swinging babes of Jazz

Rap was born from the musings of Dylan
who learned the talking blues from Woody
who gleaned the idea from
those who sang before him.

Folk is big and small, gentle and exciting
simple and symphonic, soft and harsh,
passionate and Poetic.

Folk can be front porch,
but deserves to be Arena level.





Musicians include:

Michael Johnathon banjo on Techno-Folk, mandolin on Benediction and all acoustic guitars

JD Crowe, John McEuen banjo

Paul Leim, Rick Marks drums and percussion

Rob Ickes dobro on America, Benediction

Ben Sollee cello on Benediction

Bob Bryant, Tom Covello, Dave Pomeroy bass

JP Pennington, Brent Mason, Kevin Marks, Lou Toomey electric guitars

Carl Gorodetzky concert master for Techno Folk, The Dream and Dreams of Fire

Tony Migliore and Michael Johnathon string and orchestra arrangements

Tony Migliore, Jason Coleman piano

Joe Bogan, Rick Marks, Kevin Johnson, Jeff Myers engineers