In 2000, many young blues artists issued retro-sounding recordings featuring analog production techniques and '50s-style instrumentation. For instance, CDs from Sean Costello, Kid Ramos and Rusty Zinn all sounded very pre-1960s. Now Texas guitar-slinger Johnny Moeller (Darrell Nulisch, Lou Ann Barton) also mines the past on his new release Johnny's Blues Aggregation, a soulful collection of groove-heavy roadhouse blues and rootsy R&B done up with a decidedly '50s feel.
Moeller is one of a handful of Texas guitarists often compared to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. On his latest, Moeller's guitar work sounds closer to surviving Vaughan brother Jimmie, an equally worthy paragon. Some talented Austin-based players back Moeller, including brother Jason on drums and Matt Farrell, whose rollicking piano and soulful vocals help to propel many of these tracks.
From the catchy shuffle of "Oh Baby Oh" to the randy groove of "Mama, The Way You Look Tonight" to the wistul melody of the Doug Sahm-like ballad "Your Turn to Cry," the Texas roots run deep on this release. Rollicking numbers such as "Thinking" and "Let's Get High" are interspersed with danceable instrumentals "Bak 'N Forf" and "Slingin' Hash." Moellers' guitar playing is fiery but economical, and his band rocks out with a raw roadhouse sound characteristic of the best Texas blues.
Fans of Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton will want to hear this latest from Johnny Moeller, a guitarist with a bright future.
Track Listing: Oh, Baby Oh; Mistreated; Mama, the Way You Look Tonight; Thinking; Bak "N" Forf; Let's Get High; Your Turn to Cry; Stagger Lee; You Got Me Crying; Slingin' Hash; Worried Life Bluesk J's Scratcher
Personnel: Johnny Moeller (guitar); Jason Moeller (drums, vocals); Matt Farrell (piano, vocals); Homer Henderson (rhythm guitar, vocals); Mike Keller, Johnny Bradley (upright bass); Shawn Pittman (piano and vocals, 1 track)