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Can You Fly

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Editors’ Notes

Freedy Johnston came from the Midwest to New York City looking to make his name as a singer-songwriter, selling off his grandfather’s Kansas farm to help finance the recording of his second album Can You Fly. He states as much in the album’s opening lines and throughout this poignant song cycle allusions are made to the costs of having such grandiose dreams. Johnston had the talent to back it up and the album received much critical applause upon its 1992 release, leading Freedy to a major-label recording contract. Can You Fly is a rich, compelling collection highlighted by strong instrumental backing from ex-Joe Jackson stalwart Graham Maby and guitarists Jimmy Lee and Kevin Salem. “Sincere” emerges as a powerful Stones-esque rocker, whereas “Tearing Down This Place,” “The Lucky One” and “Responsible” offer melodic and literate folk-rock. Syd Straw duets for the sadly downcast “Down In Love,” while Freedy mines his pop side (“In the New Sunshine”) and his country roots (“Remember Me”) to flesh out the full spectrum of his writing.

Customer Reviews


I happened to know Freedy from my time as a musician in Hoboken, NJ during the early 90's. I called him right after I heard the CD for the first time and told him it was AWESOME, and the best sounding work he'd ever done. He was so gracious, and modest (His reply, "Really?!"). Every song here is well crafted and memorable. And I dare you not to play air guitar when you listen to "California Thing." I also love the cover (the flying girl is actually the photographer, who took the picture herself by remote control).

Absolutely wonderful from start to finish.

A truly wonderful album. The songwriting is inspired, from the rockin' little California Thing, to the pop brilliance of Sincere, to the magnificent tale of lost love that is Mortician's Daughter. The album starts with a kick - Trying to Tell You I Don't Know includes a killer guitar lead as well as some great lyrics - and never really lets up. A great introduction to the work of Freedy Johnston.

this album can fly!

Freedy Johnston's midwestern roots run deep on this album, and it breathes authenticity all the way thru.

he is at his best here when giving voice to the desperation of these lonely towns ("there really is a town called hopeless"), and he makes it clear that
the gritty kansas soil he hails from is still under his feet on Can You Fly, Wheels, We Will Shine, and the other brilliant tracks here. He would go with a more refined touch on subsequent albums without stifling the muse, but for me this one hits the bullseye with the first arrow. a gem from first song to last.


Born: 1961 in Kinsley, KS

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A gifted songwriter whose lyrics paint sometimes witty, often poignant portraits of characters often unaware of how their lives have gone wrong, Freedy Johnston seemingly appeared out of nowhere in the early '90s and quickly established himself as one of the most acclaimed new singer/songwriters of the day. Johnston was born in 1961 in Kinsley, Kansas, a small town with the odd distinction of being equidistant between New York City and San Francisco. Growing up, Johnston developed a strong interest...
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