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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dennis Johnson - Slide Avenue - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Slide Avenue, from Dennis Johnson and it's a blend of a numerous blues styles with a common hub of cool guitar work. Opening with Swingin At the Savoy, guitarist/vocalist Johnson blends a cool swing track featuring Sam Levine on sax, Tim Metz on drums and David O'Keefe on bass with his slick slide work. Robert Johnson's Terraplane Blues has a much quicker paced cover with a root in blues but an almost country approach with quick picking and flair (Think early Bella Fleck). Another Robert Johnson track, Phonograph Blues is a real nice straight up acoustic delta style blues track played on 12 string dobro. Nice! Rollin On The River has a rudimentary New Orleans feel with snappy snare work from Metz and the addition of Joe Craven on violin. Back On My Feet is a cool shuffle track and see's the addition of Kirt Shearer on piano. Johnson busts out some Elmore James like slide riffs on this track but keeps it light and easy. On Ain't Nobody's Fool, a quiet ballad, Johnson is joined by Caitlin O'Leary for a vocal duet over his acoustic guitar work and Shearer on organ. Very nice memorable melody. The Wind Is Howlin' based loosely on an old Elmore James track is my favorite overall track on the release with it's easy flowing pace and solid slide work. Turn Your Lamp Down Low is a jump rag along the lines of Red Hot. Shearer adds a different dimension with B3 on this track as well. This track is certain to be a crowd favorite with it's crisp pace, snappy lyrics and of course slick slide riffs. Johnson, covering another Robert Johnson track, Hellhound On My Trail, again keeps it on the basic level with only vocal and 12 string dobro. Johnson does a really nice job on this track adding his own flair to this classic track. Wrapping the release is acoustic bluegrass like, She Looks Good, a simple blues track featuring Johnson on acoustic guitar and vocal with Joe Craven on violin. Craven and Johnson exchange some hot riffs on this tracks making it a super ending to an interesting mostly acoustic release.

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