Thank You MOJO. You Have Never Lied To Me.

And so it was in 2005 that I followed my beloved magazine where they told me to go and let them introduce me to Antony and the Johnsons' I Am a Bird Now.

Awarded the Mercury Music Prize in 2005 for I Am a Bird Now, Antony became a MOJO magazine favorite when they voted the album #1 in their list of Top 50 Albums of 2005. I Am a Bird Now was also rated #43 on their "Top 100 Albums of Mojo's Lifetime."

MOJO's Danny Eccleston called the album, "Not just a truly brilliant record, but a record that seemed to promise that pop music mainstream need never be the same again."

I Am a Bird Now features guest appearances by Devendra Banhart, Rufus Wainwright, and by Antony Hegarty's childhood heroes Boy George and Lou Reed. Reed has said that when he first heard Antony, he knew he "was in the presence of an angel."

The cover of I Am a Bird Now features Peter Hujar's 1974 photograph of Andy Warhol superstar Candy Darling on her deathbed.

"As a youngster in California, Antony was smitten by the beguiling image of Boy George on Culture Club's 1982 debut album Kissing To Be Clever. 'George was really the first reflection I saw of myself in the world,' he explains. 'I saw him and thought, 'Okay, that's what we do when we're like this: We become singers.' In 2004 Antony found himself sitting at a piano, recording the haunting 'You Are My Sister' with his icon. 'When he was in the studio, I just felt this big, long circle connecting in my spirit.'"

Antony's record label, Secretly Canadian, asks, "Have you ever heard a voice like this, imbued with the transcendental emotion of the blues, yet deployed with an unadorned simplicity reminiscent of medieval music practice, and graced with a top note of childlike wonder? Or songs that blur distinctions of gender and identity, yet which still summon up such powerful feelings: longing, love, lust, loss? No. Because Antony is one-of-a-kind."

The exquisite voice of Antony Hegarty is like nothing you have ever heard before, receiving comparisions to artists ranging from Nina Simone to Morrissey. Antony and the Johnsons' follow up to I Am a Bird Now, The Crying Light, is due out in 2009.

And so it is in 2008 that Waist High would like to publicly thank MOJO magazine for always telling me the truth, and welcome Antony and the Johnsons to Portland Oregon for their performance with the Oregon Symphony, Friday, Sept. 5, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Photo: antonyandthejohnsons.com
MOJO, alwaysontherun.net/antony, & secretlycanadian.com