Brian Johannesen to play free show at Gabe’s this Thursday

Brian Johannesen
Brian Johannesen performs at the 2014 Mission Creek Festival — photo by Zak Neumann

Iowa City’s favorite country-lovin’, whiskey-drinkin’ son, Brian Johannesen, now based out of Nashville, will be playing at Gabe’s this Thursday at 8 p.m. He’ll be joined by Chicago’s Ryan Joseph Andersen, of the roots-rock band Go Long Mule.

The show is free and will be followed by Soulshake.

Johannesen’s songs stick to a handful of themes, viewed them from every conceivable angle. Wanderlust, whiskey and women appear in virtually every song of his 6-track self-titled 10″, yet Johannesen’s lived-in lyrics offer something new in each iteration.

“Movin’ On (Woman From Lexington),” for example, takes it’s setting in a dive bar, where the narrator admits he “falls in love with every bartender that [he] meets,” then journeys out to Memphis until he realizes he needs to “get back to the Midwest.” It’s a sweet and hopeful song, contrasting stand-out track, “Lucky Strike Cigarettes,” whose melancholy confusion makes this a must-listen for anyone wandering through their 20’s.

Thursday’s show finds Johannesen and Andersen nearing the end of a Midwest tour. Johannesen played several shows at the Mission Creek festival this year, giving him a chance to showcase his growth as a songwriter and performer. If you somehow missed any of those shows, do yourself a favor — catch him at Gabe’s this Thursday.

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