99

Richard Leo Johnson: Language

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Richard Leo Johnson: Language Because of its location, Nashville did not become a center for jazz or blues, as did Memphis and St. Louis. Instead, the Tennessee hub has become a city known for quite a few things in general and its country-western music theme in particular. Arkansas-born guitarist Richard Leo Johnson, 44, has spent some time in Nashville and recognizes the melting-pot nature of its culture. Bluegrass, folk, Celtic music and continental European elements show up on Language. While Johnson’s debut album last year represented an impressionistic journey across the U.S.A., this one pays homage to America’s musical roots.

With his acoustic guitars out front, Johnson blends various folk idioms in small ensemble format. His most prominent partners, Paul McCandless and Andy Reinhardt, infuse natural timbres alongside Johnson’s acoustic instruments. On a medley of “”Cheek to Cheek” and “Dance in Heaven,” both soprano saxophone and accordion contribute to the acoustic guitar’s dance-like rhythms. After all, much of this music has roots in celebratory dance. In a few instances, Johnson goes off in a different direction. His “Sketches of Miles” introduces Spanish classical guitar to the album. Along with Glen Moore, Warren Haynes and Cyro Baptista, the leader recalls the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaboration and provides an honorable tribute. Johnson’s “New West Helena Blues” mixes bluegrass with a Mississippi Delta blues mood. The guitarist exhibits virtuosic skill on the double-neck instrument, sounding as if he were several people performing together.

A photography major in college, Johnson has developed an eye for landscape. His willingness to seek unique aural blends to express his visions places the guitarist in the company of today’s brightest stars.


Title: Language | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: King Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Parts Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review Parts Unknown
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Voices in the Void" CD/LP/Track Review Voices in the Void
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Live in New York" CD/LP/Track Review Live in New York
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Just Get In" CD/LP/Track Review Just Get In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.