November 8, 2011

Chuck Johnson - A Struggle Not a Thought

Chuck Johnson's classical tilt, virtuoso touch and brilliant compositional skills have been unleashed on the solo guitar audience.  The 12-string guitar pieces really are the work of a virtuoso. Chuck Johnson’s picking is clean, exact and pure.  Certainly the production work is equally to be credited here, some of these pieces I feel as though Johnson is sitting right in front of me coaxing these amazing compositions from wood and wire.

These are pieces to get lost in, relatively short trips to another place. Fortunately Johnson doesn't needlessly extend the pieces to the point where the listener just ends up lost. "A Slender Thread" is a gorgeous, gorgeous piece that immediately transported me to a sun kissed meadow with shafts of sunlight cutting through the sky. In the middle of the song I checked the title and it made me wonder what wonderful event was just a thread from happening.

Johnson has a real lyrical touch that is displayed in piece after beautiful piece.  Johnson manages to play everything perfectly and yet emotionally as well.  This is such a strong effort that I actually think the last couple cuts are my favorite.  There are so many releases out there that just kind of peter out as the last few songs play.  Not this one.  This is far and away my album of the year so far.

A very small detail I noticed while browsing his bandcamp page was a tag list that included "ackerman," could that be William Ackerman?  I certainly hope so, I love to see Ackerman getting his long overdue proper respect.

The excellent blog Work and Worry interviewed Johnson last summer and I was struck by his very thoughtful and dead-on description of the term "American Primitive."
The aspects of that term that I relate to suggest a practice of making music that liberates the guitar from an accompaniment role, with a decidedly American attitude of making the rules up as you go.
And he goes on, you really ought to read the interview, very good stuff.

I hope you will head over to Strange Attractors Audio House and buy the LP or CD of this release.  And be sure to visit the Bandcamp page for digital sales.  And visit anyway as Johnson is offering a free d/l of "What a friend we have in Jesus/Kensington Blues" that is not on this release.

Visit Chuck Johnson HERE

1 comment:

  1. Clearly beautiful recording and playing. Reminds me Jack...
    And I just totally agree with his vision of "primitive" music. And it's more a matter of intention than style or genre to me, giving the chance to express ourselves.