Language (CD) ~ Richard Leo Johnson (Artist) Cover Art


By: Richard Leo Johnson

Current Price: $4.93

Track Listing

DISC 1 for Language Album By Richard Leo Johnson
1   Hip Hop Zep
2   Sweet Jane Thyme
3   Event Horizon
4   Music Roe
5   Chuck Soup
6   Cheek To Cheek/Dance In Heaven
7   Happy Talk/Dream A Dream
8   Sketches Of Miles
9   New West Helena Blues
10   Daddydaughterduo
11   1-5-90
12   Freestone Peach

Product Description

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Product Notes

Arkansas native Richard Leo Johnson has drawn comparisons with the late Michael Hedges and John McLaughlin, but the essence of Johnson''s far-reaching guitar sound is grounded in mountain bluegrass and folk music, as well as jazz and left-of-center classical, with a nagging nod to New Age. Johnson''s second Blue Note offering finds the 12-string virtuoso in a collaboration, of sorts--he cut the initial tracks solo, then sent tapes to various musicians, including Oregon''s Paul McCandless, drummer Matt Wilson, and the ex-Allman Brothers guitarist, Warren Haynes. The musicians returned their taped contributions, and the assembled sounds create a band, again, of sorts.

There is an occasional sense of clutter, amplified by Johnson''s spectacular technique, a blitzkrieg of bluegrass string hammers, soaring, bell-like harmonics, funky chordal slides, pretty fingerpicking, and scalding, fret-devouring melodic runs. The opening "Hip Hop Zep" is a blast of everything that makes Johnson so unique, from riveting full-guitar body slaps to lush picking. "Event Horizon" recalls Pat Metheny''s high-plains soaring (with lots of surreal hammering effects), while "New West Helena Blues" is a dead ringer for a supercharged Leo Kottke. Two of the best tracks, "Sketches of Miles" and "Freestone Peach," are with Warren Haynes. Unlike the New Agey tracks with Paul McCandless, Haynes''s authentic blues slides and ringing sustained single notes make Johnson sound more grounded and give his songs greater substance. But with humorous jigs ("Chuck Soup"), Indian-tinged standards ("Cheek to Cheek"), and father-daughter duets ("Daddydaughterduo"), Johnson is obviously not at a loss for material. Language is a full-course meal. --Ken Micallef

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