Since March 2018, Josephine has been working full-time as an independent musician, literally singing for her supper. She performs a regular route that takes her through Nashville, Atlanta, Savannah, Hilton Head, Aiken, and Augusta. She has three full-length albums, and in 2020, despite the COVID 19 pandemic, she still managed to play 220 throughout the southeastern United States.
A literate lyricist with an MA in English from Humboldt State University, Josephine's vocals are pure whiskey and honey--a melding of unvarnished soulfulness and sweet melodicism. She's also a subtly virtuosic tenor ukulele player.
Double High Five is unique in her oeurve in that it dips her folkie compositions in the otherworldly atmospherics of multi-instrumentalist, Andrew Sovine (Ashley McBryde, Fox Brothers, Alice Wallace), who arranged, co-produced, and played electric guitar, slide guitar, and omnichord on the six-song release. Mike Kapitan (film and TV composer, former Thomas Dolby sideman) mixed and mastered Double High Five.
The EP is loosely themed around an ill-fated relationship, but it never wallows in self-pity. The title track exudes a gospel sense of musical uplift, fortified by the self-soothing flow of the lyrics. Johnson sings:
"Here's a hug for your soul for all those times you found yourself at a dark crossroads/ C'mon, shine your light, let it show which way is gonna bring you home/ Whoa oh oh oh whoa oh oh whoa oh oh/ Raise a glass you're on the path, let it shine, whoa, you're almost home."
Other EP standouts include the quaintly pastoral instrumental In the Field and the Sam Phillips tune Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us. Sister Rosetta is re-imagined here as an old-timey feminist anthem cloaked in vibey dark and gritty production.
Johnson's breakthrough album, The Spark, released in 2018, also features her distinctive blend of soul, country, and folk in a cohesive and earnest album. Arranged by famed producer John Vanderslice and keys player, Rob Shelton, The Spark, brings to life Johnson's characteristic vocals, Mainland tenor ukulele, backed by warn horns, real keys, lap steel guitar, and classic folk and country instrumentation.