I knew the minute I played James Holt’s, Whatever Happened to John?, I was hooked. I soon found myself rifling through other releases by this Manchester artist and being taken by great production and songwriting.
Whatever Happened to John? is a roots rock/Americana jolt of energy that could have fallen off Dylan’s Highway 61 album. Shades of Tombstone Blues and From a Buick 6 make Holt’s single a “songwriter’s guided tour” of the lyrical greats. Holt waxes poetic like the best of them, not only incorporating Dylan influences but injections of Lennon’s sharp wit and nasal delivery. Whatever Happened to John? also sneaks in slick production without being so apparent, which is an art within itself; its midsection is replete with ethereal sounds, out-of-genre melodies, percussive elements, etc.
A real treat in earbuds. For fans of G.E. Smith, Paul Butterfield, Bob Dylan and those 4 British guys.