Mr. Johnson jumped into view as a nominee for Guitarist of the Year in 2006. This Victoria-based bluesman jammed onstage after the Awards Show and left behind a couple of impressive CDs. This new one is even better. Johnson leads a unit that should be far better known. Rick Erickson is on bass & vocals, John Hunter on drums & vocals and Darcy Philips is on keyboards & vocals. They perform working class blues at its best, starting with some advice set to a most infectious groove, “Don’t Go Fishing With Your Boots On”. “Habitual Survivor” is a fine soul blues chronicling the life of a woman on the streets, sung with much more sympathy than one hears elsewhere. “Worked To Death” takes the perspective of someone who cannot afford to rest. This one’s straight ahead Chicago blues. “Experience” is about life experience, from someone who’s seen his share, with a storming slide guitar. “Another One” sees him at a bar in Mexico, saying ‘Charlie, here’s my keys, hand me that glass’, over a T-Birds rhythm. He can do a slow blues too: ‘If what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, why am I “Half The Man” I used to be’. Powerful stuff. “Old Les Paul Guitar” may be closer to home than the others, it being about a struggling musician. He takes on some standards to conclude the program and does them up very well. He has song samples at web link so you can check these songs out for yourself. The Victoria Blues Society is sending him to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge in February, maybe he can arrange a stopover so we can catch him live.
Posted: Jan 8, 2015