Haley Johnsen has a flair for the dramatic. While she can definitely get a crowd dancing, some of her most commanding songs are slow-building, folk-pop cuts that place her powerful, bewitching voice front and center.
Always tinged with just a bit of blues, Johnsen's latest single really embraces the influence. Without lyrics, you could describe "When I Loved You" as a sultry, brooding and passion-filled. Add Johnsen's lovelorn vocals and you've got a tale of heartbreak that'll heat you up rather than cool you off.
Clearly a strong vocalist (which she showed on the national stage during a stint on American Idol in 2012), Johnsen is also a skilled songwriter. But this go around, "When I Loved You" is actually the work of her bandmate and acoustic guitar player Barrett Johnson. The group had been covering a Tedeschi Trucks Band song called "Do I Look Worried," and Johnson saw how his frontwoman handled the soulful rock. Thus, the new song "was inspired by my liking to sing blues music," Johnsen says. "It has always come very natural to me! This is the only song we play that I did not write, but I loved it so much I wanted to incorporate it into my next project."
Recorded at B-Side Studios with John Askew, in addition to Barrett Johnson on acoustic guitar, "When I Loved You" also features Tom Dawson on electric guitar, Tim Karplus on bass, Mark Powers on drums, and Anna Heinze on background vocals. Set to embark on an East Coast tour this July, you better catch Haley Johnsen now because she won't be around the area until August.