Schooner is from Carrboro, NC. It started from a 4-track project by Reid Johnson in 2003, and then turned into a full band. The current lineup includes Reid and Kathryn Johnson (yes, we're brother and sister), Billy Alphin (The Ashley Stove, The Rosebuds), and Maria Albani (Pleasant, Un Deux Trois). Tripp Cox played bass on all of the records and pretty much did the booking and van driving until last year, and we've toured and recorded with Megan Culton on guitar and cello as well. Keep in touch to find out when we'll come and visit you.
"Carrboro" is like a modern, lo-fi Beach Boys gem sung by Stephin Merritt if he'd grown up below the Mason-Dixon Line. Reid Johnson's deep, deadpan baritone induces a narcotic effect as it pours over his sister Kathryn's antithetically cheery vintage organ line like cough syrup. And when the two siblings sing together in deliciously piquant harmony, the languorous humidity of Reid's jaded croon is made all the more evident as it rubs up against Kathryn's sweet, airy voice. Together they sound like the doomed writer and the southern belle, Tennessee Williams singing with Scarlett O'Hara. Even though the keyboards crash into a sunny, sing-along chorus, this tune is actually a deceptively depressing tale of a lonely girl in a new town who loves often and badly ("You said, 'I love you,' without thinking twice/ I knew I didn't, but thought it was nice.") But by cloaking her bruised story in woozy loveliness, Reid and his band take lemons and make lemonade. And really, what's more Southern than that?
...I witnessed a live show of a man possessed as the lead singer / guitarist Reid Johnson commanded that not only you listen, but that you watch in amazement as his band went from gazing out with effects to spastic acoustic guitar based folk numbers to poppy keyboard driven songs making us all remember how much that first Shins record blew us away, and maybe this might be the next band to blow everyone else away. The record (You Forget About Your Heart) is not just recommended, but I would call it pretty much essential.
-Frank Yang's take on our Pop Montreal show
Left off The Dial
"The breadth of variety that Schooner offers is mighty impressive....Schooner manages to reinvent its sound over and over again...."