Jonny Fritz, AKA Jonny Corndawg, is a country singer who knows that Nashville sound as well as anybody, but he also knows how to play songs that appeal to more and more people. He doesn’t take the “hard right” stance that a lot of country singers do, and doesn’t sing about how great America is and how great it is to swill beer all day. In fact, in his song Exercise, from a previous album, the chorus includes “understand that immigrants have the hardest lives.”
The opening track to 2011’s Down on the Bikini Line album is Shaved Like A Razor. It was the first song I had ever heard from Jonny Corndawg, and I was immediately hooked by a classic barn-dance type song with great guitar solos, fantastic fiddle playing, and a kind-hearted twang in Jonny’s voice. Played on a local radio station here in Rochester, NY, they announced that later that night the band would be playing in town. Off I went to see Jonny and company at a local venue. I was not disappointed. The band is down to earth, and Jonny really seems to enjoy what he does. They literally travel the country on their tour, crashing wherever they can after each show, playing to small crowds and recognizing their fans who have seen them more than once.
Jonny isn’t afaid to shine the spotlight on the occasional absurdity of country music, as in the track When a Ford Man Turns to Chevy, as the line immediately following the title line continues with “an angel gets it’s wings, and the babies they won’t never cry no more.” Undercover Dad is a touching song that Jonny sings about wanting to get to know his child better, and the lessons he has learned about parenting by being out on the road seeing younger crowds at shows every night, learning what he can expect to have to face someday.
If Amazon isn’t for you, you can get Down on the Bikini Line and other albums direct from the band’s Bandcamp site, so go get your fix!