Umbrella Man – Scott Albert Johnson (Independent Release)
From the shuffle bop of ‘Spaceman’ to the swinging jazz of the Wynton Marsalis tune ‘ In The Courts of King Oliver’ there is a warmth and a deep soul to this latest offering from harmonica virtuoso Johnson.
Backed by the best musicians Jackson Mississippi has to offer, and recorded in that city and New Orleans these tunes rollick and pulse their way into the listeners heart.
Gifted with a clear emotionally satisfying voice and a complete grasp on what makes an honest thoughtful song work, Johnson invites us to dance the night away, get hot, get sweaty and get involved.
There is a rare love and passion in these recordings, an uncompromising dedication and a joyfulness, in even the the most thoughtful ballad (stand out track ‘The Best Of Me’ ) that sets this way above many similar attempts.
This isn’t music from some rock star , distant , too distant from the crowd that comes to hear him play, this isn’t some roots blues rock n roll researcher/revivalist digging up old chords for new albums,
this, is the sound of someone who lives and breathes the music he creates and wants to share it with anyone that will listen.
My advice is buy this CD and listen, but don’t forget to boogie crazy while doing so.
Get the music and read info about the recordings here http://www.scottalbertjohnson.com
Shadows – Strangers In Wonderland (Last Refrain Music)
Deep into the second track, `Every Day, Every Night’ the listener is made aware that hiding behind this perfect pop electronic funk (edging into new wave) even a simple love song has its own fears and darkness.
Shooting then into a slow blues, these Strangers show their wonderland can be full of a fragile and pulsing desire. This Wonderland is seductive and slightly dirty and not always as safe as the sugar coated music sighs would suggest. But who wants safety when the pleasure is in the hidden ragged beauty of the needs and the dreaming of this band.
We come now to what is my favourite track, `Still Standing` a song that distills essence of the ghosts in the radio, the lost spirits caught among the shifting airwaves, this glides and swirls , uneasy yet powerful.
More cool slightly on the edge tunes follow, the sound of what should be on the nations pop charts, the alternative strokes within are subtly painted and without sacrificing the catchy, there are enough twists to comfort the listener who wants a bit more.
This is the kind of album that makes those people who categorise tunes for ipods tremble, cause it slinks from style to style, keeping though, the essence, the DARKNESS of the band.
Mention must be made of the Chuck Dread remixes included on the CD, adding a neon dance floor glow and kapow to the tunes, a late night strobe shiver, bring even more magic to this strange Pop-land.
Find their music and more here: http://www.strangersinwonderland.com
Both these artists will be featured on the NBT podcast going out on the 4th Sept 08