Minneapolis singer/songwriter Justin Law has an appreciation for paradox, and it shows in his music. As a minster’s kid who eventually ended up becoming an ordained (and tattooed) minister, Justin personally knows and sings about the complicated interplay of spirit and body, darkness and light. Justin uses his acoustic guitar and love of word-smithing to tell his own story, while creating a space for listeners to also hear their story.
Law’s solo album The Phoenix is a study in juxtaposition. The bouncing folk and bluegrass-tinged tracks carry lyrics about conflicted emotions, doubt, and loss. Then the tables turn, and Law sings about beauty and hope over slow and melancholic guitar strums. Law seeks to remind himself and listeners that we are not alone — Both joy and pain have their own beauty.
The Phoenix starts with the bare and somber “Here Underwater,” continues through the ominous groove of “Jet Black Horse,” and builds momentum into the upbeat “Last Call for Cyanide.” Friends Brandon McCoy and Jeremiah Toole make musical appearances on the album, with Michelle Hord supplying harmonies. By the last track, the brooding song “The Phoenix,” listeners have taken a thematic autobiographical trip from water to fire and have experienced Law’s ability to pull wit, hope, and melody from the dark.
“This album is special to me,” Law says. “I didn’t know what it would sound like or what it would be called when we started. Even after it was complete, it took me a while to process what this album, and what I, had become. It was actually first in the hearing, and then in the playing the songs live, that I more clearly saw and heard myself. It turned out this album was a truer expression of me than I had originally known.”
Justin has had the pleasure of sharing stages with national artists like The Smoking Flowers and Jeremy Messersmith, as well as with some of his own musical influences, such as Michael Pritzl (the violet burning). In 2015, 2016, and 2017, Law has repeatedly been featured in Jim Walsh’s Mad Ripple Hootenanny, as well as appearing on bills with Sawyer’s Dream, Frequency Collisions, Quiet Pioneer, and others.
Law’s music has been reaching more and more ears in Minneapolis/St. Paul, through appearances at Minneapolis clubs such as the 331 Club, Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Acadia, and Harriet Brewing, as well as St.Paul venues O’Gara’s and Amsterdam Bar & Hall. If you’d like to get in touch to ask him to play somewhere, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.