Helen Leicht’s Local Pick Of The Day: John Francis’ “Johnny Cash On The Radio”

John Francis

With John Francis‘ major-label debut, The Better Angels, ready to drop on November 9th, it’s safe to say that we’re looking forward to seeing the rest of the country heap the same praise on the Philly-based musician as WXPN has in recent years. It’s not just that Francis is a rural-Pennsylvania-raised local whose foot-stomping country-rock and commanding stage presence set him apart from every other would-be good-old-boy with an acoustic guitar. It’s that Francis also brings some considerable cred to the table: He’s the son of Christian ministers, and spent his youth listening to gospel and folk music while singing in the church choir; the record, meanwhile, was recorded at Cash Cabin Studio (which was originally built Johnny Cash in 1978) by John Carter Cash and will be released by the Nashville-based label Dualtone Music Group. (That kind of cred goes a long way when you’re trying to sell your dusty soundtrack to the American Dream gone wrong to the cowboy-boot-and-hat-wearing contingent.) And, with all of Francis’ obvious connections to Cash, it’s no wonder the refrain to the lead single off his upcoming album is, “Just let that country station play / that Johnny Cash on the radio.” John Francis’ record-release show for The Better Angels is at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, December 3rd, at Tin Angel Friday; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.