Front Deck Boom Box: James Johnston

8 August 2023 | 1:43 pm | Mary Varvaris

We caught up with James Johnston to find out what songs he’s listening to for this week’s Front Deck Boom Box.

James Johnston

James Johnston (Source: Supplied)

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James Johnston has just released his latest single that’s sure to be a hit, Some Things Never Change, starring country music duo Zac & George. With his signature drawl and the pair’s harmonies, the track transforms when the newfound trio combine their voices over acoustic guitars.

Some Things Never Change was recorded in Nashville by Justin Wantz and mixed by Liam Quinn in Sydney. From there, the trio hosted late-night Zoom meetings to tinker with the song further so Johnston could really impress Zac & George with the new single. You can check out the music video, which features Johnston’s devoted fans below.

But this week, James Johnston joins Countrytown for his Front Deck Boom Box ahead of his appearance at Savannah In The Round festival, where he will perform alongside the likes of Jimmy Barnes, Fanny Lumsden, Kasey Chambers, Brad Cox and Casey Barnes, as well as other legends in Australian rock, country and folk music.

Having received numerous Golden Guitar nominations and hosted performances at CMC Rocks, Berry’s Big Country, the Gympie Music Muster and Tamworth Country Music Festival, this year’s Savannah In The Round is the cherry on top of an impressive year (so far) for James Johnston.

Here’s the singer’s song choices for his Front Deck Boom Box:

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Friends In Low Places - Garth Brooks

My very first performance was when I was only 4, at my local daycare centre! After everyone had done their dance routine and sing-along to The Wiggles, I got up with a guitar (I couldn’t play) and sang Friends In Low Places. This song will forever have a special place in my heart.

Stuck Like Glue - Sugarland

I first heard this song on a road trip with my family across America, it was the number 1 song in America at the time, and it became the soundtrack to that entire trip! Over 12 years later, I had the opportunity to write a song with the songwriter of that song - Shy Carter.

Dumb Things - Paul Kelly

My very first paid gig was when I was 15, I was with my mate Chad Haydon, and we had a small number of songs that we just kept repeating! I think we played All The Dumb Things about 10 times that night.

Boys From The Bush - Lee Kernaghan

The first time I heard Boys From The Bush, I just remember thinking that was me, growing up on a farm on the mid-north coast of NSW that song just spoke to me. It was my story in a song!

I’m a Believer - The Monkees

When I was 12 years old, I was selected to be one of the featured singers to perform this song at an event called Star Struck at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre. A nervous kid I was, like a deer in headlights when I walked into the room, but then a tall long haired 16-year-old boy walked over and took me under his wing! That was Morgan Evans, and 20 years later we are about to tour the country playing music together.

James Johnston performs at Savannah In The Round Festival from October 6-8, 2023 alongside a huge lineup of acts. For more information, head to the Savannah In The Round website.