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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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Monday, October 10, 2016

Bill Johnson - Cold Outside - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Cold Outside, from Bill Johnson and it's got real style! Opening with Baggage Blues, Johnson jumps on it with a cool loping blues. His own vocals are as smooth as silk and David Vest's piano work is excellent, backed by Rick Erickson on bass and Ross Hall on drums. On boogie track, Nine Dollar Bill, I really like Johnson's vocals and his guitar riffs are fluid and sprite. Darcy Phillips' piano work dresses the track nicely making this a really cool one. Night Train has a definite cowboy sound with train rhythm drums and low octave guitar. Johnson's guitar soloing has a trace of Mark Knopler and his accent guitar work is cleverly woven into the track. Title track, Cold Outside, again has a bit of a cowboy feel with western style slide guitar over ringing cowboy chords. Delivered work vocals, not unlike Johnny Cash, gives this track a humble feel. True Love has an almost 40's sound but definite blues framework. Blues slide gives the track a warmer feel and Vest's piano work is real nice. Slower blues number, My Natural Ability, has a really terrific piano/organ intro by Darcy Phillips leading into a New Orleans style vocal blues by Johnson. His own melodic guitar lead is clean and soulful along the lines of the great BB King. Excellent! Two stepper, Makes A Fella Nervous, has more of a country twang with cool guitar riffs, country vocals and and piano style. This is bound to be a radio favorite. One of my personal favorites on the release is Angry Guitar with it's funky beat. Joby Baker's bass work really gets you moving and Johnson really gets into the swing. His vocals are spot on and shows his guitar versatility with clever and nicely executed guitar soloing. Very nice! On Driftin' and Driftin' Johnson has a real somber country sound not unlike some of Elvin Bishop's work. His slide work is really nice and his vocals smooth and supple. Wrapping the release is a modern country style ballad, Angeleen with cleanly articulated guitar work and vocals (think John Hiatt). This is actually a very pleasing release and one you should check out.

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