w/ Jackson Howard
July 14, 2017
By Katie Drozynski
There are people in the world who fear commitment, and then there’s Johnny Walylko, who has committed himself to writing and recording one song each week for the next full year. A whole 52 weeks of musical expression summed up in what he’s calling Project 52. He’s celebrating the start of the venture with a show at Club Café on July 14 and the release of the first song, “Don’t Count Me Out,” available on johnnywalylko.com.
“I feel like I’m a good writer,” Walylko said, “but if I want to be a great writer, I have to put in a lot of time and push myself. [Project 52] is essentially a method to push myself into becoming a better writer, recording artist and performer altogether.”
Project 52’s first song marks the beginning of a yearlong effort in the spirit of summer. “Don’t Count Me Out” is soaked in sunshine and simple acoustic guitar punctuated by hand claps and tuneful whistling.
Walylko’s lyrics are at first almost pleading. “Keep me up at night / You’re in my dreams / I’d like to think I could do without you.” But his unadorned guitar melody and classic singer-songwriter vocals, with just a hint of gravel to them, lend confidence to the tune. “It’s only a matter of time before you’re falling for the singer,” he croons.
And he’s right. Walylko has created an earworm perfect for listening to on a warm day while you crack a Summer Shandy. But summer doesn’t last forever, and Project 52 will continue long into the fall, when Wall plans to make the move from Pittsburgh to Nashville, winter and spring. A lot can change in a year, and the project provides listeners the opportunity to hear the ways in which Walylko’s songwriting will change.
Composing a song in a week is no simple task, either. Musicians can take months, even years to finish a tune to perfection and even longer to record it. Walylko, however, sees those seven short days as a challenge.
“I found that the best thing you can do as far as being a musician and making it in this career is just go out there and do it.”
Walylko is playing the late show at Club Café on July 14 with Jackson Howard. All of the songs from Project 52 will be available on his website, johnnywalylko.com, and eventually on iTunes and Spotify.