Press-----" At the heart of mostly every song is a simple folk song, but what varies greatly is the manner in which the artist chooses to present it. Since moving to Austin several months ago, Johnson has been working on new material that explores the possibilities of his vision. His efforts to find unique and novel ways to present his writing have yielded refreshing results. One thing is clear from these recordings—Johnson has absolutely no interest in being a simple, strumming balladeer.
In his new project Killer Whale, Johnson is widening the sonic footprint of his sound. In the process, he has taken a keen interest in recording methods and electronic instruments not commonly associated with folk music. Although guitar and vocals remain the heart of his songs, Johnson's new material incorporates digital and analog drum machines, synthesizers and densely layered vocal effects.
Johnson returns to Baton Rouge to explore his new sound accompanied by a drummer, synthesizer, and pedal steel, which promises to make for a truly unique and intoxicating combination" -Justin McGowam 225 Magazine
-----"Exceptional lyricist and incomparable guitarist Thomas Johnson, the gravelly-voiced leader of Thomas and the People, is an explorer and a soul-searcher whose sound veers between the lo-fi folk of Iron and Wine and the homespun blues of Ben Harper. As the title of his recently released LP suggests, Beneath the Trees is an earthy, organic endeavor that finds the gifted, young musician discovering his roots.
The achingly poignant “Minnesota,” an intimate, acoustic sing-along adorned with moving, multi-tracked guitars, brings out the beauty in Johnson’s bruised poetry. A set standout, the sultry, soulful jam “Dauphine,” which depicts the allure of busking in the Big Easy, best showcases the 28 year-old axeman’s string work. When he lights into a sizzling slide solo, the song soars. Though the ground may be uneven between the playful strums of “Please” and the tranquil chords of “You Never Move,” there’s plenty of shade Beneath the Trees."
-Aaron Lafont, Offbeat-New Orleans
-----"Imagine a lonely walk on a city street, and from around a nearby corner you hear a driving beat. It’s late, you’re tired, but you’ve nowhere to go, and a warm voice pulls you as you follow your feet. All of the sudden, you’re surrounded by music and cavorting shadows cast by tiki torches. And as you join their dance, you realize it’s the kind of night that never ends, despite how quickly time has decided to move; that is Thomas Johnson and the People.
Shimmering acoustics and soulful solos collide with a gospel feel and a funky horn section on Beneath the Trees. This blend creates the perfect vehicle for Johnson’s direct and descriptive songwriting. There is supreme honesty about this music. Each song feels like a letter to the listener—inviting, enchanting and almost impossible to hear and remain seated."
-Nobert Redmond, 225 Magazine
-----Beneath the Trees was listed as one of the 33 favorite albums of 2011.
-The Rotation Room www.rotationroom.blogspot.com
-----"Amazing new artist from Baton Rouge, now residing in New Orleans. My favorite track from his 2011 release, Beneath the Trees, is the third song, titled "Dancer." Reminds me of M. Ward. What a beautiful record."
-The Rotation Room, www.rotationroom.blogspot.com
-----"Roots, folk and classic rock ‘n’ roll meet in the songs of Baton Rouge native and New Orleans musician, Thomas Johnson. The guitarist’s voice and songs have a vintage, honest quality well beyond his years."
-Jeff Rodel, American Thrift, www.americanthrift.wordpress.com