Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Jay Jesse Johnson Band – Down The Hard Road (CD)

Jay Jesse Johnson (not to be confused with disco/funk rocker Jesse Johnson) has released a bunch of high class albums since his solo debut “Strange Imagination” in 2004. Before that he recorded an album with pomp rock band ArcAngel (featuring Jeff Cannata) in 1983 and in 1989 he released the album “Electrocution of the Heart” with AOR band Deadringer (featuring Charlie Huhn and Barry Dunaway among others). His solo albums are however quite far from the melodic rock scene. “Down The Hard Road”, like Jay’s previous solo efforts, are all about the blues. The album is all originals except for Booker T’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” and Roy Buchanan’s “The Messiah Will Come Again”. I remember reviewing Jay’s previous album “Set The Blues On Fire” two years ago. The album was a nice piece of hard edged blues rock. On this album Jay is leaning more towards the classic side of blues rock and boogie and he’s even added some horns on a couple of songs and there’s a piano solo in “Drive Me Home”. Jay is an outstanding guitarist with both incredible feel and great technique. Most of the songs are classic blues rock numbers, while “Tears Of An Angel” is a slow and slightly heavier blues ballad and “Bull In The Barn” offers some swift chicken pickin’. The aforementioned Buchanan cover “The Messiah Will Come” also offers a slightly different touch to the album, and I honestly hadn’t really thought about how this number must have had a great impact on Gary Moore when he wrote “The Loner” and “Parisienne Walkways”. Sweet notes a’ la carte.
Janne Stark
Year: 2017
Label: Grooveyard Records
Country: USA


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