About 18 years ago, a young man sat broken, saddened by the lost of not only his child but the loss of the relationship with the child’s mother. For a solid week, he sat in his room and the only music he listened to was that of an artist with the unique capability to tap into human emotion unlike most others.
That guy was me and that artist was Human Drama. As a side note, Johnny Indovina has always had a way to connect with people on a personal level as well. During the above mentioned time, he took some time out to call me via phone and played my favorite cover song “I Keep A Close Watch,” after we drove 300 miles to Chicago to see him. These are the kinds of things that we don’t forget.
I really believe that Johnny is one of the most underrated song writers of my generation. Maybe it’s because he’s unafraid and unapologetic about often confronting the perfectly human emotions we sometimes would rather sweep under the rug. But more than that, he is the consummate storyteller. Now he’s back with members Mark Balderas, Michael Ciravolo, Steve Fuxan and drummer Rob Cournoyer.
This brings us to the pleasure of our offering for today; the new Human Drama album, Broken Songs For Broken People.
Some tracks like “I Just Cannot Care” are piano/string based while others are based around acoustic guitar with strings. In a case like “A Long Time Ago” we hear the subtle presence of what almost sounds like slide guitar. “Love Lies Still” has a bit of a Rolling Stones at 3/4 speed during the verse. That song as well as “Like This One” have a bit of a treated wavy guitar affect happening as well. There are moments like those during this album where one can hear almost an old school country rock sound. “A Ghost” is one of the tracks on the album that reminds of the World Inside or Songs of Betrayal days. In typical Human Drama fashion, a number of influences rear their heads. “The Not Knowing” is a wonderful track, starting softly and slowly with guitar, drums and flute sound, followed by strings in the chorus. The flute and string and washed guitar sound make a good marriage with Johnny’s voice.
The songs on Broken Songs For Broken People don’t have the grandiose presentation that perhaps some of the cuts on Feel did (i.e. “I Could Be a Killer” or “There Is Only You”). And that was a while ago. The songs on here are all musically mellow. What Human Drama has given you now still is the reason we as fans fell in love with the band in the first place; straight, stripped down emotion to the simple accompaniment of guitar, piano, strings, bass and drums.
I think that the influence of many of the artists that have influenced Johnny over the years really shines through on Broken Songs; Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, John Cale etc. However, unlike those guys, Johnny and Human Drama never received anywhere even remotely close to the credit that they have deserved. The point is that the music world has a ray of hope if bands like Human Drama are in existence.
It’s special for artists to be able to grab a hold of the specificity of individuals’ emotions. But it’s just extraordinary to be able to simultaneously tap into the universal drama of being human.
Check out Broken Songs For Broken People immediately.
For more information on digital and physical copies, hit up Johnny’s website listed below.
NOTE: The link below includes the price in pesos. It’s not $120 in US.