On Friday, longtime Elton John guitarist and music director Davey Johnstone released his first solo album in almost 50 years, Deeper than My Roots.
Johnstone tells ABC Audio that the project started coming together when Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour was postponed in 2020 album because of the COVID-19 pandemic and he unexpectedly found himself with extra time on his hands.
As he amassed new songs, aided by some lyrical help from his friend, actor and poet Rick Otto, Davey says he got the idea to enlist several of his musically inclined children to contribute to the album, which he notes became “a complete family affair.”
Early in the project, he asked his youngest son, Elliot, to sing on a track, while his son Charlie, an accomplished keyboardist, also played on that song and engineered it.
“[I]t was suddenly sounding really magical,” Johnstone notes, “and I thought, ‘Well, this could be the basis for this record. It could be…me writing all this material and then involving my kids.'”
Elliot wound up singing lead on most of the tracks. Johnstone reports that his other family members who contributed to the album included “my middle son, Jesse, [who] played drums remotely on about four, maybe five songs, [and my] eldest son, Tam, who…produced and mixed a couple of the tracks.”
Davey tells ABC Audio that he titled the album Deeper than My Roots because it’s “got a lot of different influences,” including 1960s and ’70s pop and rock, and “Scottish and Irish traditional music.”
Johnstone also reveals that his famous boss “was blown away” when he listened to the record, pointing out that Elton said, “[T]his is sweetest album I think I’ve ever heard,” and was particularly impressed by Elliot’s vocals.
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