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Dennis Johnson (from the album Revelation available as a self-release) (by Lee Zimmerman)
For those who may be unaware, the title of Dennis Johnson’s fourth album, Revelation, rings with relevance. A superb slide guitar player, Johnson specializes in rollicking Blues Rockers, Rootsy Rockers, and occasional infusions of Gospel and Country elements, with his chosen instrument as the anchor.
So too, he utilizes an accomplished backing band, one that includes drummer Anton Fig (Late Night w/David Letterman, Joe Bonamassa)keyboard player Bob Fridzema (Walter Trout, Joanna Shaw Taylor), and bassist and backing vocalist Jonathan Stoyanoff (Joe Craven).
An ongoing enthusiast dedicated to sourcing the sound of slide guitar, Johnson insists that Revelation, as its name implies, is his most fully realized effort to date. Dennis Johnson leans heavily on the familiarity factor, opening with the old stand-by “Going Down”, which segues into the rapid-fire rave-up “Talk To You” before abruptly switching tone and tempo for the sake of the title track, an instrumental that opts for more expressive emotion.
The spiritual salvo of “Salvation Blues” and the basic blues of “32-20 Blues” fill out the proceedings accordingly, staying true to his template while also adding some variety to the workout as well.
Accordingly, then, Dennis Johnson shows where his loyalties lie as far as his musical motif is concerned. He’s a traditionalist in the strictest sense, but his playing is the primary focus here, and in that regard, he excels quite well. Another familiar standby, “Please Don’t Go”, proves transformative courtesy of its sizzling slide and a swampy rhythm that effectively transforms the pacing of this seminal standard. So too, his take on the old folk chestnut “Lonesome Valley” transforms this once weary repast courtesy of Johnson’s decidedly determined delivery.
The rest of the set follows suit, from the steady stride of “Ramblin’” to the eager acoustic “Two Lights” and the solid stomp of closing track, a tenacious “Don’t Owe You a Thing.” Taken in tandem, this particular Revelation allows for a rich and robust discovery. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Dennis Johnson from his website
For more information and purchase options, please visit the Dennis Johnson website
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