It astounds that even a musician with the back catalogue and talent of Greg Johnson has to crowd fund a new album. Just as well he has though, because it’s a pearler. To explain the title… “Telling sea stories. Referring to lamps slung from the deckhead which swing while at sea. Often used to indicate that the storyteller is exaggerating…” No evidence of such here, Johnson has come up with another beautiful, new but familiar, set of stories that are instantly likeable and engaging. He’s a fine songwriter, consistent, relatable, dateless. Gentle piano-led tracks with universal themes and recognisable cultural references, such as The Beatles for example. The opening track is called No Need For Invitations, except maybe there is, because this is almost like the ultimate intimate dinner party. Everyday emotions and feelings put simply but beautifully, managing to swerve the cliché factor – which is an achievement in itself. Having a distinct voice also helps. Recorded mid-2015 in LA, where he lives, with fellow Kiwi Wayne Bell producing and drumming, Mark Hughes on bass, Alex Troup on guitar, and Ted Brown adding backing vocals, this is the most natural sounding album I’ve heard in eons. A great reward for those who provided the necessary funds.