SONG OF THE MONTH - Mar. 2020: Field Medic & Pickleboy - talkin johnny & june (your arms around me)
Ben Talks About A Lovely Song
Our favourite song of March 2020 is a folk triumph. Wistfully hoping for a love like that which was shared between the titular Johnny and June Carter Cash, lo-fi folkers Field Medic (Kevin Patrick Sullivan) and 'Pickleboy' (Alex Menne of Great Grandpa) combine to create something understated, serene and impossibly endearing.
There are stripped-back songs, and then there are songs like this. talking johnny & june (your arms around me) spins around Sullivan's single guitar, with the two singers taking turns to pour poetics into a shared microphone. It sounds charmingly inviting to hear a tune softly delivered from audible smiles and cozy living room reverberations, while the crackling vocal performances from Sullivan and Menne paint a fuzzy picture of sensitive chemistry over an intricate guitar line.
There is something alluring about the performances on show with this single that I cannot quite put my finger on. The vocals are gorgeously delivered with a trademark entanglement of likeable authenticity and genuine talent, but there truly is something hidden in the air that surrounds the performance of this tune that draws me in. It may be the sheer simplicity on offer that is so entirely irresistible to me: one guitar, two singers, a couple verses and we all head home. Except we don't. We finish the song, and then we put it back on - finding ourselves totally wrapped up in the fantastic world of these two songwriters.
The lyrical wit of both singers combines repeatedly into brilliantly inventive lines, and hearing the two of them combining to sing
"I'll smoke you to the filter just to savour the taste"
is one of the sweetest encapsulations of love that I have ever heard. Sullivan's lower register ties a knot around his instrumental slights of hand, and adding to that pleasant mesh of tones Menne's singing compliments the track perfectly. Attentions flicker to Claude Monet in the closing moments of the song, imagining
"I need love like Monet
Paint me like a lily
Bridge over Giverny"
I mean, come on. You know that's good. I'm sure that if Johnny and June are looking down at Field Medic and Pickleboy, they'd be dead proud to be attached to a song as wonderfully crafted as this.
All in all, this is a song that transported me to a place I'm not sure I'd been before. Within its tapedesk aesthetic there is a youthful positivity that welcomes you into an experience of sheer living room optimism. It is a delightful collaboration from two of folk's most intriguing figures, and you should listen to it right now.
- great -
Ben Wheadon is editor and founder of Slow Motion Panic Masters. He is a Welsh musician and English Literature student at King's College, London and he should be writing a dissertation instead of creating a blog.
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