American Idol winner Caleb Johnson launches driving funk-rock single Sugar

Caleb Johnson
(Image credit: Chance Edwards)

Caleb Johnson & The Ramblin Saints have launched a video for Sugar, the second single to be released from the band's upcoming album Born From Southern Ground. The album is released on June 14

"Sugar is a song I wrote with my longtime guitar player, Josh Sawyer, in Nashville," says Caleb. "When first writing it, we had an old school Aerosmith vibe in mind, but when we cut it in the studio, my co-producer Bryan Sutton had us experiment with elements of funk which added a whole other element to the song."

The release of Sugar comes a month after the launch of another single, Solid Gold, which was co-written by Johnson with Rival Sons frontman Jay Buchanan and producer Blair Daly, who has previously written with artists including Lynyrd Skynyrd,  Richie Sambora and Sixx: A.M. 

Johnson won American Idol in 2014, performing Aerosmith's Dream On, Paul McCartney's Maybe I'm Amazed and As Long as You Love Me - written by The Darkness's Justin Hawkins - in the final.

“It was an absolute honour and privilege getting to rock out on that stage,” says Caleb. “It was a dream come true!”

He released his debut album Testify the same year, and has gone on to support Kiss, Cheap Trick, Sammy Hagar, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Black Stone Cherry and more. 

Born From Southern Ground was was recorded at Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Studio in Nashville, and was co-produced by Johnson's cousin Bryan Sutton, a multi-instrumentalist who's worked with country music stars like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Kenny Rogers.

“Bryan brought my vision to life," says Caleb. "Making this album was one of the purest, most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. Bryan let me be me.

“This is the album I’ve always wanted to make and I’m super excited for people to hear it. It’s real, raw and honest. Music is a religious experience and can be life changing.

"Moving forward I hope this album will inspire others the way I was inspired when I first heard the gospel through rock ‘n roll."

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.