JOSIAH JOHNSON +
PLANES ON PAPER
The past has a way of showing itself, and in the small underground basement of Milkboy Philly, the shared history between Josiah Johnson, Jen Borst and Navid Eliot was both understated and understood, woven into song so completely that it felt like another instrument in the room. It was still a few hours before they would play their own sets of music on the venue’s upstairs stage – Johnson appearing solo, and Borst and Eliot performing as Planes On Paper – though even their individual material bore a common thread. Emotionally stirring and bursting with heart, Johnson’s “I Wish I Had” and Planes On Paper’s “Television” are striking portraits shaped by regret, insight and compassion. Accompanying each other, the trio of musicians effortlessly tapped into the tenderness at the root of it all, as the beautiful blend of their voices depicted both a desire to start again and a longing for a world without division, discord and noise. But while anyone can share a space and a microphone and never achieve a connection that feels so honest and unforced, the family bond and musical chemistry that flows between these friends did, making the message of their songs feel that much more powerful. Sustaining that same atmosphere during separate evening performances that frequently saw them join forces onstage, both Johnson and Planes on Paper were able to bring a sense of warmth and sincerity to a compelling night of music.
Josiah Johnson’s set consisted of a few beloved cuts from The Head and The Heart, but primarily focused on the as yet unreleased solo material compiled during his time away from the band.
Planes on Paper’s set showcased their latest release, 2018’s Edge Markings, which features their song “Television.”