Music We Love: "Open Road" by Keegan Johnson

The DFW music scene is wildly diverse in what it has to offer its listeners. There is, however, a sense of saturation by a few key genres — hip hop and rock, primarily. Keegan Johnson’s Open Road EP is a departure from the usual fare: it’s unapologetically light, catchy pop.

Though released earlier this month, Open Road is decidedly summery, complete with a plea to drive around with the top down in a Mercedes (on “Maybe”). Johnson even sings about imagining “a perfect holiday somewhere on a beach” on “Faded”. (It doesn’t hurt that Johnson’s voice has incredible range and depth of motion, either.) The EP’s themes range from party scenes to lost-love songs, and from introspection to celebration; it’s not difficult to picture oneself playing the album while driving a car somewhere a little too fast. But there are some sobering moments, too. On “Nobody,” when Johnson sings, “I can’t trust nobody with this vision in my head / I ain’t got no time for ups and downs, that’s how it is”, there’s a wistfulness behind his words. In “Tonight,” the singer ruminates on the fact that he’s “trapped in a room full of money I spent”. Living the high life doesn’t protect any of us from heartbreak or worry, it seems.

Although Johnson is the star of Open Road, the EP features some verses by rapper Travon (on “Maybe”) and production work by Chisom. Chisom’s contributions are just as responsible for Open Road’s summery vibes as Johnson’s lyrics — each composition is cleanly produced and ripe with bright synths and ornate ambient effects. Chisom’s masterful work is the perfect complement to Johnson’s smooth, skilled vocals. Whether Johnson is harmonizing, belting a verse, or whispering, the music is right in step to accompany him.

You can stream Open Road below. For more information, follow Johnson on Facebook to keep up-to-date with the singer’s releases.