NASHVILLE (August 5, 2022) – Johnny Duke releases the upcoming indie folk single, “Golden Light,” on August 30. It’s off the album Sonic Valley, due out October 7. “Golden Light” dispels into an atmospheric celestial sonic pathway guiding the way into an inner landscape.
Duke began writing Golden Light while reading a translation of the Upanishads, the ancient Vedic texts. He says, “The book was pointing to the light within that I was simultaneously experiencing in my daily practice of Transcendental Meditation.” The song also alludes to Plato’s allegory of the cave, revealing the illusory nature of the shadows dancing on the walls that one has assumed for a lifetime were real.
The instrumentation mirrors the song’s ethereal theme. The chorus opens and sonically expands like the light of the sunrise expanding out on the horizon, closing with an OM chant, while the verses convey the process of awakening to new possibilities.
The deeply introspective solo release, Sonic Valley, is both dreamy and spirited, with elements of folk, rock, jazz, blues, psychedelia, electronica, and trance that culminate in an astonishing clarity of tone and message.
Pollinating songs with a mix of cultural and stylistic influences, he’s described his creative intention as tapping into multiple levels of consciousness and “clothing a mystical experience in music.” On “Galaxy Love,” the opening track, he sings, “Time and space fall away/into sand, into clay/and all the while, I’m lost in love.” An infectious groove topped with cool jazz licks forms the essence of “Getaway,” while “New Moon” zooms in on his guitar virtuosity. “Galaxy Love,” “Children of Light,” and “Calling Out for Love,” center the album, blending layers of sound into a lush and poignant unity. In terms of performance, Duke showcases the full breadth of his talent, featuring acoustic, electric, slide, and fingerstyle elements, which he melds with touches of organ, pedal steel, banjo, mandolin, accordion, electronica, percussion, and his own warm, welcoming vocals. An epic mystical and sonic journey, this self-produced album gradually builds into an ecstatic experience of musical and spiritual realization.
Duke says, “I really like to write music that transports a listener beyond ordinary life, pointing to transcendental awareness.” This approach might be antithetical to conventional approaches to songwriting. He views the song’s landscape as a world that a listener enters into, stretching the imagination into new possibilities. He says, “These songs reflect a time in my life when I was doing a lot of soul searching. The language of the soul isn’t always rational and linear. Many of these songs are sketches of insights that I have gathered from my own experiences in other realms, or higher states of awareness when I am truly at one with my soul and the oneness of life.” Some of the songs have a shamanic quality that can serve as a guide for listeners to process their own emotions.
Sonic Valley Track Listing
- Golden Light
- Galaxy Love
- Children Of Light
- Eyes Of The Child
- A Real Life
- The Painter
- Smoke And Machinery
- New Moon
- Calling out For Love
About Johnny Duke
As a solo artist and as a go-to guitarist for numerous world-renowned acts, Nashville-based guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and producer Johnny “Duke” Lippincott draws upon a musical vocabulary that spans the spectrum from the delta blues to Debussy. After picking up his first guitar at the age of ten, he was soon sitting in with local blues musicians, including Willie King and Terry “Harmonica” Bean, at festivals and small clubs around the Mississippi Delta. At age fourteen, Duke began sitting in with David Bromberg on a regular basis, a seminal relationship that significantly shaped him musically and personally. In 2006, D’Addario Strings awarded him a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, where he formed and toured with the band Johnny Duke and the Aces, including a tour as B.B. King’s opening act when Duke was 18 years old. Currently on tour with Keb’ Mo’ and Sheryl Crow, he’s backed a long list of musical legends, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lee Ann Womack, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, Don Was, and more. Duke recorded electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, and pedal steel on two of Little Big Town’s platinum-selling albums, Tornado and Painkiller. As a sideman, he’s toured worldwide, appearing at numerous renowned venues, including Madison Square Garden, The Kennedy Center, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Red Rocks in CO, Wolf Trap, and The Ryman Auditorium, as well as on TV shows such as Ellen and Kelly Clarkson. As a songwriter, Duke co-wrote Jimmy Buffett’s single Slow Lane from his 2020 album Life On The Flip Side.