Article Contributed by Victory Lap PR | Published on Tuesday, July 18, 2023

When he first catapulted onto the Athens, GA music scene as an undergrad in 2018, Elijah Johnston wasn’t sure what to make of his surroundings. A freshly-enrolled music student at the University of Georgia, the burgeoning songwriter sought camaraderie in fellow noise-makers, quickly becoming a staple sideman and collaborator to local groups such as Hotel Fiction and Well Kept. Now with five solo albums to his name, Johnston returns today with “Downtown Living” – a raucous anthem that underscores his complicated sentiment about life in the city. The single is Johnston’s first release with Athens-based music label Strolling Bones Records (an imprint of New West Records) and is available now via all digital streaming platforms.

Sewn together with crackly power chords, a booming kick drum, and Johnston’s urgent vocal display, “Downtown Living” is a refreshingly honest departure from the often romanticized concrete jungle trope. Having written the song in a feverish haze while recovering from COVID-19 and isolating in a friend’s downtown apartment, Johnston channels the anxiety and delirium of those long, lonely days into a blaring manifesto. The result is a bewitching cacophony of sounds that perfectly echo the pandemonium of the streets below. Accompanying the track is a spirited music video featuring grainy, homespun footage of some of Athens’ signature landmarks (watch and share here).

Having grown up in the modest Atlanta suburb of Snellville, Elijah Johnston first cut his teeth in music with no more than an acoustic guitar and an at-home recording rig. When he arrived in Athens, he was easily embraced by a flourishing creative community that encouraged him to pursue his art more seriously. Since then, Johnston has released numerous recordings, both under his own namesake and with several local bands. His enthusiastic live show, imaginative arrangements, and sharp-witted one-liners have earned him a sizable following and a bevy of well-respected collaborators. Recently, Johnston’s ascent into a talent to be reckoned with was solidified by winning the 2022 Vic Chesnutt Songwriter of the Year award for his song “Molly Haskell,” from the Day Off LP.

Despite its angsty disposition, “Downtown Living” remains a celebration of the here and now. In Johnston’s case, discomfort is a crucial stimulus for growth. “I’ve lived in worse places all over town,” he sings. “And nothing scares me more than when it feels right.”

“Downtown Living” by Elijah Johnston is available for download and streaming today via Strolling Bones Records. To learn more, visit strollingbonesrecords.com/elijah-johnston.

Elijah Johnston Tour Dates

08/04 - Athens, GA - Buvez

08/05 - Atlanta, GA - 529 Bar

08/26 - Charleston, SC - The Royal American