One of Birmingham’s finest makes musical magic with nationally renowned artists in his newest single, “Tonight.” Duquette Johnston is a longtime Magic City musician and owner of Club Duquette in Woodlawn. “Tonight” is the latest single on his upcoming album “The Social Animals.” Keep reading for a first listen and look at the single and its music video.
Solidarity in the Magic City
In the brand-new music video for “Tonight,” Johnston pays homage to Birmingham. He illustrates the song’s message of hope and solidarity by handing out roses to neighbors. Birmingham landmarks like Seasick Records and the Rainbow Bridge are just a couple of the dynamic video’s locations.
“Tonight” was written in 2007 but didn’t find a home until Johnston’s forthcoming album, “The Social Animals,” was recorded. The song’s message is more relevant than ever.
“Tonight is about hope. That everything can be all right. You can fight through all the pain of living in this world and make things ok if you choose to fight.”Duquette Johnston, Birmingham musician
Local music with national reach
Duquette Johnston is a Birmingham musician through and through. He started playing shows at 18 with Verbena, a band made up of his high school friends. After a struggle with addiction and incarceration, Johnston returned to Birmingham and opened Club Duquette in Woodlawn. He believes that the Magic City is a unique creative space.
“Artists in Birmingham have room to grow and develop. There’s a freedom to be as creative as I want without outside pressure. I also have a weird theory that the heat in the South really affects creativity. I think the heat makes your thoughts a little scrambled, so you can’t think too much. You just have to dive into it and let it go.”-Duquette Johnston, Birmingham musician
He’s never stopped making music, either: Johnston’s two most recent albums, “Etowah” (2019) and “Rabbit Runs a Destiny” (2013) were both acclaimed releases. “The Social Animals” promises to be Johnston’s best album yet.
The single and its accompanying album combine Johnston’s poignant lyricism with innovative production. John Agnello, who has worked with Dinosaur Jr. and Waxahatchee, produced the track. Equally as impressive, Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley does all of the drums on “The Social Animals.”
Johnston and his team experimented with layered vocals and overdubbed guitars in “Tonight” and throughout the forthcoming album. All of its tracks were recorded at Sonic Youth’s studio in New Jersey while the overdubs were done at Communicating Vessels in Birmingham.
Though “Tonight” and “The Social Animals” were completed in 2017, Johnston releases his work strategically. He found the perfect partner in Single Lock Records, a Florence-based label that focuses on Southern music.
Up next: a full-length album
“Tonight” is just the beginning. Johnston’s full-length album, “The Social Animals,” will be released on February 25th. Johnston is an incredibly experimental musician, so his new album will surely surprise and captivate.
“I hope that I never make the same album twice. I’m always trying to create something from the sonic and visual elements around me. When I write, I see stories.”-Duquette Johnston, Birmingham musician
“Tonight” and the upcoming album can be found on all streaming platforms. Vinyls of “The Social Animals” are available for preorder through Single Lock Records and Seasick Records. Johnston plans to tour throughout 2022, COVID permitting.
What’s your favorite local release of 2022? Tag @bhamnow and share some tunes!