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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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Showing posts with label Justin Time Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Justin Time Records. Show all posts

Monday, April 14, 2014

Justin Time Records artist: Brent Johnson - Set The World On Fire - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Set The World On Fire, by Brent Johnson and it's a perfect match of pop, R&B, blues and guitar. Opening with Don't Make A Sound, Johnson establishes right up front that he means business. Simple straightforward solid song writing and clean instrumentation is the ticket on this release. A simple guitar rhythm with a funky back beat and thickness added through organ, make this a very cool track. On Meet Me In The Morning, Alvin Youngblood Hart joins in and a crunchy slide guitar permeates the track. Loose, back country blues guitar riffs set this easy paced "Crossroads" like track quite well. Nice! The Ticket is a high steppin two stepper with that rockin Chuck Berry rhythm. Fun, loosly played guitar riffs keep this track light but add a lot of spunk. Don't Take It With You has a driving R&B style and features cool bass work from Bill Blok. Wayne Lohr lays in a tasty keyboard solo and John Perkins is tight on the drums. So Glad You're Mine opens with a simple guitar riff leading into a R&B style that you might expect from Jimmy Hall. This is a humble track but one that is really quite memorable melodically. Long Way Back To New Orleans features louisiana's own, Sonny Landereth. Perkins gets the street snare cooking and Landreth lays down some really nice slide work. Very cool! Glass Ceiling has a nice funky groove and I haven't mentioned it yet but Johnson has a really solid voice. Wayne Lohr takes a nice organ ride on this track which leads to one of the hottest flat out guitar solo's by Johnson on the track. John Lee Hooker's Meet Me At The Bottom is the most straight forward contemporary blues rocker and I really like the grinding guitar tones on this one. Opening into a cool extended jam with AY Hart this is another particularly cool track. My favorite track on the release, a solid cover of As The Years Go Passing By, reinforces Johnson as both a vocalist and a serious blues guitar player. This 13 plus minute track gives Johnson a really nice opportunity to lay out some of the tastiest guitar work I've heard new for a while and shows a lot of passion. Lohr adds nice tension with organ and also plays a sweet piano solo. Excellent! The Hucklebuck, one of my favorite guitar boogies is up next and Johnson shows his versatility as a guitar player and throws smoke from the strings accompanied by a strong troop of players. Again excellent! The release finishes up with Set The World On Fire, a solid pop style closer with a lot of broad appeal. This release has a number of facets and I really enjoyed a lot of them. Check it out!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Justin Time Records Signs New Orleans-Based Blues/Rock Guitarist Brent Johnson; Debut CD, "Set the World on Fire," Due April 8 & Features Specials Guests Alvin Youngblood Hart & Sonny Landreth

Justin Time Records Signs New Orleans-Based Blues/Rock Guitarist Brent Johnson

Debut CD, Set the World on Fire, Set for April 8 & Features Specials Guests Alvin Youngblood Hart & Sonny Landreth

MONTREAL, CANADA – Canadian label Justin Time Records announces the signing of New Orleans-based blues/rock guitarist Brent Johnson and will release his debut album, Set the World on Fire, on April 8. Johnson is backed on the new CD by his road-tested band of Bill Blok (bass, backing vocals), John Perkins (drums) and Wayne Lohr (keyboards), along with special guest guitarists Alvin Youngblood Hart, who adds his scintillating touch on three tracks, and legendary slide master Sonny Landreth on one song. Set the World on Fire was produced by Brent Johnson and recorded/mixed by Ben Lorio at The Music Shed in New Orleans.

“My sound is rooted in the blues, though I don't pretend to be a purist, and I don't want to be," Johnson explains. “I write music based on my experiences and the sounds I grew up with; I never want to pretend that I had the same experiences as the old bluesmen did, so I'm not going to go around trying to sound like them. What I do is put the emphasis on the feeling of the music, the passion, the urgency, the directness - that's the goal.”

Brent Johnson has achieved his goal quite admirably on the appropriately-titled Set the World on Fire, as he burns up the speakers with an incendiary mix of both electric guitar and slide guitar sounds on the album’s 11 cuts, including seven originals and covers of “Meet Me in the Morning” (Bob Dylan), “Meet Me in the Bottom” (Howlin’ Wolf), “As the Years Go Passing By” (Albert King) and “The Hucklebuck” (Paul Williams). Justin Time Records owner Jim West has been a longtime fan and gave Brent free rein over the material and production. As this is his first album release, Brent is looking forward to releasing and touring these original songs and feeling the reaction to his work from an audience.

Brent describes himself as “always a guitar slinger ... I always loved songwriters and wrote songs for myself.” Interestingly, despite an omnivorous musical appetite and a very distinct love of blues, Brent, when pushed, would list his four favorite songwriters as eclectic Houston guitarist Chris Whitley, Austin's own Ian Moore, (a writer himself influenced by world, folk and blues music), along with British stalwarts Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer. He describes his favorite music as “raw, honest and dirty.”

Johnson’s passionate vocals and soulfully powerful guitar work shines throughout the new album. On “Meet Me in the Morning,” he and Alvin Youngblood Hart trades licks in a serious blues guitar conversation (Alvin on electric, Brent on slide). They go at it again on the original song, “The Ticket,” driving home a strong blues message. On “Long Way Back to New Orleans, he’s joined by Sonny Landreth, who adds his signature slide guitar, helping to push the track towards his Crescent City hometown. Hart returns one more time on the Howlin’ Wolf classic, “Meet Me in the Bottom,” where both he and Brent channel the chugging sounds made famous by the Wolf’s iconic guitarist, Hubert Sumlin.

On an album filled with highlights, two additional songs are also worth mentioning. On “As the Years Go Passing By” (perhaps best-known from the great Albert King’s version), Johnson delivers a tour-de-force 13 minutes-plus of emotionally-charged singing and guitar playing that adds to the track’s intensity. And on “The Hucklebuck” (a 1949 number one R&B hit by saxman Paul Williams), Johnson shows he can swing and rock with the best of them on an instrumental that showcases his versatility and musical maturity as a guitar player. 

A guitar prodigy from the age of four, South Texas born Brent Johnson always knew where he wanted his playing to take him. Drinking in the very best of blues, jazz, rock, punk, country and world music, by the time his family moved to New Orleans in his teens, he was predestined towards a career in music.

Writing his own material, Brent formed several high school bands, all with a lean to the blues; and then joined the group Under the Gun, who built a considerable following on the local live circuit in Louisiana and beyond. As admiring of the style of The Clash, Albert King, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Albert Collins or Black Flag and Thelonious Monk, Brent's passion for playing was immediate and intense for his audience.

By serendipity, New Orleans' legendary “Braille Blues Daddy” Bryan Lee heard Brent's playing and immediately recognized his virtuosity, drive and dedication to his craft and to the blues. At 22, Brent was seconded into Bryan Lee and the Blues Power Band, with whom he has recorded and toured nationally and internationally for the past ten years.

“Playing with Bryan has really helped me open my ears,” Brent says. “For example, Bryan always had keyboard players before I joined him, so I had to learn how to play like an organist, like a horn section - how to play rhythm like a group of instruments - instead of solely like a guitarist. I've learned how to swing, how to play be-bop and also how to take that aggression that I love and give it room to move - new colors to paint with.”

Through his long association with Bryan Lee, Brent has played many major jazz and blues festivals around the world and had the pleasure of playing with such outstanding blues artists as Buddy Guy, Lonnie Brooks, Eddie Shaw, Gatemouth Brown, David Maxwell, Bruce Katz, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Howlin' Wolf associate Hubert Sumlin.

In between touring with Lee, Brent went out on the road with John Perkins (drums) and Bill Blok (bass) playing Brent's original compositions, with himself on vocals. They garnered a great response and decided to go into the recording studio, with the inclusion of Wayne Lohr on keyboards.

As his debut album is released, Brent emphasizes his commitment to keep writing his own songs. “I want to bring something to the audience that sounds familiar, but that is our own in the end,” he states. Always demonstrating his creativity in his playing, he is excited and confident in putting his own songs before the public. “I believe there are no limits,” he declares. “I'm going to have fun with this for a long time!”

To stream the track, “Don’t Make a Sound,” from the new CD, click here:

3/28-3/29            The Shed BBQ                                                                                   Ocean Springs, MS
4/8                         The Hideaway CafĂ© (Suncoast Blues Society)                       St. Petersburg, FL           
4/9                         The Little Bar                                                                                      Goodland, FL
4/10                       Englewood's on Dearborn                                                            Englewood, FL
4/11-4/12            B. B. King Blues Club                                                                       W. Palm Beach, FL
4/13                       Ace's                                                                                                     Bradenton, FL
4/14                       The Rockstar Lounge                                                                      Lake City, FL
4/16                       The Alternate Root Television Taping                                      Boston, MA
4/18                       Jonathan's Landing                                                                          Magnolia, DE
4/25                       Teddy's Juke Joint                                                                           Zachary, LA
4/26                       Murky Waters                                                                                   Gulfport, MS
5/02                       Ruby's Roadhouse                                                                           Mandeville, LA