Since moving to Austin Texas in 2015, Sophia Johnson, may now be geographically pretty far from her roots in Birmingham, UK, but she definitely feels she has now found ‘home’. Indeed a song she recorded on her album “I’m Moving To Manchaca” has become a staple on Austin radio. In the 3 years since relocating across the globe, her career has gone from strength to strength, as an artist in her own right, and as a hired gun guitar slinger. Sophia released her debut solo record ‘One Year’ in 2016, and in March 2018 she was awarded Western Swing Female at the 2018 Ameripolitan Awards in Memphis TN.
The term ‘triple threat’ springs to mind in reference to Sophia as she definitely has 3 distinct talents that make her stand out from the crowd: she is an accomplished guitarist (notably the first British woman to get a feature in specialist USA Bluegrass publication Flack Pick Guitar Magazine) a songwriter, and a vocalist. Not only does Sophia front her own project the Sophia Johnson Band, (recently opening for Western Swing royalty Asleep at the Wheel at the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hall), but she is also in high demand as a guitar player and harmony vocalist with several different projects in Austin and further afield.
Some career highlights over the last few years include playing guitar for artists such as Sunny Sweeney, Brennen Leigh, Whitney Rose, and Mary Battiata. In 2017 Sophia performed at the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau with headline band The Carper Family, she got hired to play guitar with Rosie Flores on the Sirius XM Outlaw Music Cruise,and perform a special concert for Rockabilly Legend Wanda Jackson. Sophia also now tours with Megan Mullay’s band “Nancy & Beth” with whom she has performed at Newport Folk Festival, The Grand Old Opry and filmed a PBS special at The Cate Theatre in Connecticut.
Sophia plays most nights in Austin, Texas and depending on which night you catch her and which band she is playing with she may be playing Bluegrass, Gypsy Swing, Rockabilly, Honky Tonk, Western Swing or Rock and Roll.
Austin is known as the live music capitol of the world, and though many long time residents may be lamenting the loss of “old Austin” as the city rapidly expands and perhaps loses some of that magic which lured Willie away from Nashville, Sophia’s journey proves that though Austin may be changing its appearance on the surface, the real heart and soul of the city is still making musical dreams come true for those who wish to submerge themselves in its music scene.