Ethan Azarian & Jeff Johnston: “Never Slow Down”

Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Even if you don’t know the musician Ethan Azarian, you’ve probably seen his visual work around town. The artist has painted murals at restaurants, apartment complexes, schools, and more. They’re filled with vivid colors and a sense of humor–this one is a personal favorite of mine–and Azarian brings this same ramshackle charm to his music. In 2005, he started playing around town with Jeff Johnston–a fellow local musician who’s spent time in Li’l Cap’n Travis and Azarian’s Orange Mothers–and the duo finally have a debut album to their names. Azarian and Johnston retreated to Azarian’s home state of Vermont to record in an old farmhouse, and thus Farmhouse Recordings was born. Rounded out by Justin Sherburn (Okkervil River), Craig Ross (Storyville), and cellist Melissa Knight, the album is a meditative collection of stark folk songs. “Never Slow Down” hits hard towards the end of the record, carried forward by a droning keyboard and Azarian’s unique voice.

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