It took several decades- and a few of life’s twists and turns- before old friends Kevin Johnson and Jonathan Gregg would finally join artistic forces to become the new Linemen. In the early ’90s, Johnson and Gregg’s artistic lives converged for the first time, as the two bandleaders started finding themselves sharing bills. Both young men were starting to receive real praise for their work, Johnson well known around the D.C. scene fronting the old Linemen, Gregg deep into the NYC club scene as part of the Lonesome Debonaires. But life went on, and for one reason or another both men drifted away from the musical pursuits of their youth in the early aughts, Johnson starting his own business and Gregg becoming a freelance pedal-steel player.
In 2013, the stage called them back, and the two joined up once more– officially, and as co-leaders this time– to become the new Linemen, recruiting D.C. veterans Scott McKnight (bass), Bill Williams (guitar, mandolin, lap steel) and Antoine Sanfuentes (drums, percussion) to come along for the ride. Now, the guys are gearing up to release Close the Place Down, captured at Brooklyn Recording Studios by Andy Taub (Keith Richards, Calexico, Spoon) and mixed by producer/engineer John Alagia (John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Liz Phair).
Today, Elmore is premiering “Cold Water,” an instantly infectious country-roots-rock hit from the upcoming release. Johnson’s confident twang delivers the clever lyrics, while Gregg’s pedal steel opens the track, and keeps it energized. “I’m gonna throw me some cold water on your burnin’ bed,” Johnson playfully yodels, blending with bass and driving percussion to making heartbreak danceable.