Johnny Reid – ‘Fire It Up’


Fire It Up - Johnny Reid

Johnny Reid
Fire It Up, EMI

by Henry Lees

Rating 4.5 / 5.0

“Let’s have a party, people. Let’s have a party right now!” By the time you hear Johnny Reid‘s raspy, good time growl on the chorus of ‘Let’s Have a Party,’ the fourth track on Fire It Up, your enthusiastic RSVP will already be well on its way back. The three-time CCMA Fans’ Choice Award winner took his diverse audience’s temperature for his newest collection of countryfied rock ‘n’ soul and knew that they were ready to let off some major steam. There’s no time like the present as the polished and personable showman takes his latest rave up to packed venues across the country for his 2012 Fire It Up, Let Love Live Again Tour. Fire It Up deftly adds several more get-’em-on-their-feet anthems to Reid’s concert arsenal.

Navigating from raucous to reflective and back again, Fire It Up switches gears with little effort. The driving insistence of the title track sets the pace with an irresistible invitation to “Let your heart say, ‘Fire it up and let love live again.’” Well placed ballads cool things off enough to let the next couple of barn burners roar. Fire It Up also contains some of Reid’s most colourful and ambitious vocal work yet from the self-assured belt of ‘What Makes The World Go Around’ to the soaring refrain that climbs out of intimate verses on ‘Love of a Lifetime.’ Reid scores big points in the unexpected duet department pairing up with Serena Ryder sounding like his long-lost soul sister on ‘Walking on Water.’ Tour mate Carolyn Dawn Johnson is a sweet counterpoint to Reid’s grit on the sunny affirmation ‘Baby I Know It.’

Reid co-wrote eleven of the twelve tracks on Fire It Up and takes a solo writing credit for one of them, ‘You Got Me.’ The double Juno Award winner presents a heartfelt and straightforward style throughout musically and lyrically. “I got you. You got me. As long as we’re together we’ve got all we’ll ever need.” Easily relatable and instantly sing-along-able from anywhere in the concert bowl.

Everything Reid has touched since 2007 has turned single, double, or triple platinum as in the case of 2010’s blockbuster A Place Called Love. Following that up may have been a daunting task, but it seems to have just added fuel to Reid’s soulful fire.