Print, Reviews June 8, 2019

Album Review: Johnny Burroughs – DAY 1

by Valerie Vampola

Johnny Burroughs wrote a Christian album, but with the neo-soul vibes on his solo debut DAY 1, he also kind of didn’t.

When you think about contemporary worship music, you think of groups like Hillsong or Bethel – 20 piece bands singing worship music with at least three acoustic guitars. And when Northern Coloradans hear the name Burroughs, we think of the 9 piece “sweaty soul band” fronted by Johnny, the eccentric red-haired dude who commands you to get up and dance.

DAY 1 is clearly not The Burroughs (even though most of the band’s members contributed to the album) and is distinctively about singing praise to God, but it’s done with soul, in both the literal and metaphorical senses. While The Burroughs dig into grittier funk sounds with driving bass grooves and interactive horn lines, DAY 1 takes a softer, more gentle R&B approach, with God – not getting down – as the purpose for creating music.

The album opens up with an ethereal (or shall we say heavenly) ambience guiding us into the laid-back pop of the lead single “God is Love.” On the surface, you could mistake it for a modern minimalist tribute to Al Green that grooves so smoothly it makes you want to grab your bae and slow dance – leaving room for the holy ghost, of course. (Check out the music video for “God Is Love” which premiered via

Later, he presents a few differently flavored jams, providing “Your Love Makes Me Happy” which leans a little more towards traditional gospel, or “From the Dust” that reminds you of straight-up Jamiroquai or Quincey Jones.

While the music on DAY 1 may not be what you’d classify as straight-ahead Christian, Johnny is not ambiguous about his subject matter. He chants “Yahweh You are wonderful” and “I will sing glory to your name – Emmanuel, Your kingdom reigns,” yet he challenges the idea of what Christian worship music can sound like, stretching it beyond stereotype. DAY 1 shows that you can genuinely groove in 2019 and still praise Him.