Naked Truths by John Hanlon - Album cover

While I’m often called a musician, the reality is that I‘m just a singer-songwriter plain and simple. I play guitar well enough to put on an acceptable acoustic concert, but no one is ever going to call me in to play on their recording. Truth is, I rarely play on my own recordings these days.


As well, while I am the composer in the sense that I am credited as the writer of Words and Music on all my songs, fact is I can’t even write music. I record guitar and voice demos and then let the real musicians, the true geniuses, take over.


By this I mean the Arranger/Producers and a handful of inspired musicians, people who are hidden behind the scenes but are the real reason for any success I have enjoyed.


In the 70s and 80s I worked with Mike Harvey. It would be fair to say we learned the art of recording together. Mike with his piano playing and arranging genius and me with my words and tunes and instrumental suggestions. Mike was (and is) my friend and understood exactly what I wanted and how to get it. It was an empathetic partnership and Mike remains the only person I have ever co-written songs with: Knowing, Cat Ramble and Romantically Inclined to name a few.


In more recent years I’ve been working with Russell Finch in Australia and Bruce Lynch in New Zealand. Not just because they have their own studios but because they also have a great affinity with my songs and know exactly how to get the most out of them. They do things I can’t do. You could say that I produce a black and white sketch and they put in the colours. None of us is autocratic in this process. I do my best to stay out of their way, and they do their best to interpret my wishes.


With my latest album NAKED TRUTHS, I was in hospital for most of the time the songs were being produced. I couldn’t interfere even if I’d wanted to. I’d done the initial demos and later the vocals to basic backing tracks. Then, with a request to keep the instrumentation to a bare minimum, I retreated to wage war with my mortality.


When I emerged from a long hospital stay the geniuses had done their thing. Russell working with just one guitarist, Rex Goh. And Bruce playing just about everything himself.


To say the least, I was surprised and delighted by what they’d produced. All that was required was final mixing with some minor adjustments to keep me happy.


I’m very happy with the result. NAKED TRUTHS covers a variety of musical genres and, thanks to the work of these hidden geniuses, the songs sound great. I hope you will agree.


Here’s one you might not have heard yet, THE GIRL’S AROUND HERE produced by Russell Finch with guitars by Rex Goh.



I’ll be back with more songs and stories later. Stay tuned.