It’s Pretty Standard

Carly Johnson & Craig Wagner

As the title of the debut album by chanteuse Carly Johnson and guitarist Craig Wagner is a pun, referring to the beautiful standards they perform together, let’s go one step further and say that they make beautiful music together. Johnson and Wagner radiate good taste in their lovely renditions of classics such as “Autumn Leaves” and a stunning 10-minute extrapolation on Cole Porter’s “In the Still of the Night.” With just voice and guitar, the sound is nonetheless rich. Wagner is capable of blindingly fast solos, but holds back; likewise, Johnson can swoop and scat, but focuses on conveying emotional connection. Only Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” was originally recorded in the ’60s; the rest date to the Golden Age of the American Songbook, 1935-55. Is this relevant? You bet. Good taste is timeless.