The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Johnnyswim Fan Reports 

San Francisco, January 25, 2011


My Evening with Johnnyswim


Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 9 p.m.
Hotel Utah Saloon
San Francisco, CA

For starters let me just say how proud I was to experience musical talent at its finest—pure, fun, relevant and real. For both Abner and Amanda Ramirez to immediately recall our first meeting three years ago at the Hollywood Bowl…well let’s just say the night could not have started off any better.

Johnnyswim played a versatile set of nearly a dozen songs, either self-penned or covers. It was clear from the beginning the musicality that runs in Amanda’s bloodline has traveled its way into her own, and has once again gifted her “a voice in song.” Playful call and response to husband, Abner’s husky vocal (imagine a more forceful John Mayer or Kris Allen) proved the two are on a solid journey to musical greatness. Abner’s constant humor, unending energy and cool dialogue with the intimate venue’s enthusiastic crowd easily kept us attentive and wanting more. Amanda’s strong lead vocals delivered the perfect balance, accurate tone quality and interpretation.

Covers “You Send Me” “Jolene” “Them There Eyes” and “Ring of Fire” whether performed separately or as part of a medley lent to the remarkable talent already present before us. Even more impressive were personal songs written by the duo of love and loss (“Away I Go” “Bonsoir”) that spoke to the heart and soul of the audience—realities many of us come to grips with every day.

After the show, I spoke with Abner and Amanda again. After the usual congratulatory sentiments we took some pictures and they graciously signed CDs for me. It was especially rewarding to gain insight with Abner about our common denominator, the acoustic guitar. So naturally we elevated our conversation to one only musicians can have, which was most appreciated by me. Thank you, Abner for sharing. I listened and watched closely.

Amanda shared who inspires Johnnyswim with me, and was quick to name Dylan, Cash, Carpenters, among many others. She enlightened me on the happenings with her siblings Mimi (now a mother of four or five), and Brooklyn, who continues her acting career living close by in Los Angeles. I was compelled to tell Amanda how much of a resemblance to her mother I noticed—little things like head movements, subtle smiles, lip gestures, grace, poise, and how the cover photo of “Live and More” (1978) kept coming to mind. She smiled with flattery stating she loves that photo, and if I’m not mistaken also added it was her favorite photo of Donna.

Eli Soto

San Francisco, CA



 © 2011 the author and photographer
Copyright 1997-2018