Author: Bluesy Luc - Belgium
Published by: Rootstime Online Radio and Magazine
BILL JOHNSON - STILL BLUE
Bill Johnson, the name might not say much to you at this time, but we hope with “Still Blue” this will change soon. The man started as a 9 year old playing the guitar and according to his own saying was in the beginning mainly influenced by Chuck Berry, the Stones and Eric Clapton. Later on he studied the styles of BB King and Elmore James among others. In 2006 he was nominated for the Maple Blues Award "Best Guitarist" for his cd simply titled “Live”. Not taking a break he continued working on another surprising authentic Country-blues style album called “Worksongs”.
With this cd "Still Blue" he's opened doors to the European Blues fans/lovers. Eight self written or co-written songs and four excellent covers together made an album which grabs your attention from the beginning until the end.
Our End-year chart list was already in when we wrote this review, otherwise sympathetically this Canadian would have been part of it.
The covers of Walker’s “T-Bone Blues” and Willie Dixon’s “300 Pounds Of Heavenly Joy”, are excellent examples of a perfectly done job. These two and Bill Johnson’s own songs are of the same high quality level.
We could not help but pick out one song. The phenomenal “Half The Man”, with brilliant guitar work, is a real candidate for blues song of the year. Sometimes it makes me think of Al Stone, and then again Chris Rea. The magnificent soulful singing, a two and a half minute guitar solo that even would have Eric Clapton applauding, completes it really as a world class song.
But nevertheless, it seems wrong to pick just one out. It doesn’t do justice to other songs like “Experience” in which you hear a screaming slide, or “Worked To Death”, a great Chicago-Blues-song.
We would say listen to the entire album, and find that together with Rick Erickson (bass and vocals), John Hunter (drums and vocals), and Darcy Philips (keyboards and vocals), Bill Johnson has made a fantastic release that we highly recommend.
Posted: Apr 18, 2017
Originally Published: Dec 28, 2011